Solar Panel Installation

On Wednesday, July 18 at 10 am, Leelanau Solar, LLC will be installing five 8-panel solar panels at the Inland Seas Education Association‘s (ISEA) campus in Suttons Bay, MI. The panel installation will take two-hours to complete. Herman Miller Cares provided funding for the installation, along with an additional 15-panel roof-mounted display to be installed at a later date.

The ground panels will sit on adjustable racks that tilt with the sun and seasons. Each individual panel, 40 in total, can produce 355 watts of electricity. The ground solar panels, along with the roof-mounted solar panels, will provide ISEA with 90-95% of the organization’s electrical usage each year.

“We appreciate Herman Miller for making this solar display a reality for us. It is something we have wanted to install for some time,” said Fred Sitkins, ISEA Executive Director. “Next year is the 30th anniversary of the organization. One of our goals with this major campus renovation is to create sustainability for the next 30 years and generating our own electricity will help us accomplish that.”

The solar installation is one piece of ISEA’s $1.5 million campus renovation projectwhich includes the creation of dormitory-style accommodations in the lower level of the Captain Thomas M. Kelly Biological Station, dedicated to the late founder, Tom Kelly. Phases I of the project (paying off the mortgage) is complete and Phase II (exterior renovations and landscaping) will be completed by the end of the month. The complete campus renovation will allow ISEA to expand and enhance programming, accommodate more student groups and researchers, and increase revenue while decreasing operating costs.

In addition to generating their own electricity, Inland Seas will use the solar display and data to expand programming. Teachers can partner with ISEA to develop a custom Beyond Schoolship program for their classrooms. “Whether we’re providing programs on our ships, under the water, or along the shore, we want to continue to inspire students to be stewards of our Great Lakes,” Sitkins commented. “This gives us another opportunity to introduce students to STEM careers that can have an impact on the Great Lakes.”

To learn more about and support the Inland Seas Captain Thomas M. Kelly Biological Station, visit