News and Events
July 19, 2016
A Michigan Ross MAP team was featured in EMOL Economy for their work on a solar research project with The Chilean Association of Solar Energy (Acesol) this spring. The Ross students on the team include Nick Barrett (Erb MBA/MS ’18), Andrew Dabrowski (MBA ’17), Siddhartha Deo (MBA ’17), Shoaib Rahman (Erb MBA/MS ’17), and Christopher Selle (MBA ’17).
Read more about their project in the below English translated article.
A University of Michigan study calls to assess the residential solar generation in Chile.
The Chilean Association of Solar Energy commissioned the research project, which conducted a market analysis of residential photovoltaic energy, and concluded it needs a greater economic incentive.
SANTIAGO. – The Chilean Association of Solar Energy (Acesol), through a study called Ross MAP conducted by graduate students at the University of Michigan, achieved the first step in its goal to assess the country’s solar photovoltaic distributed generation.
Through this project, the labor union promoting solar development is seeking all positive externalities, stemming from the use of this renewable energy, to be considered; as well as higher incentives through public policy aiming at fostering its widespread use.
So far, the net billing system has had little effect on increasing the number of installed residential photovoltaic systems.
According to data from the Ministry of Energy, there were 192 installed systems registered up to April, equivalent to 2.97 MW, which is still a low figure when considering the country’s solar energy potential.
Based on several international analysis and evaluations about photovoltaic distributed generation, the Ross MAP Study concluded that a detailed investigation is needed to determine the true value of the solar distributed generation in our country, which Acesol has formally requested to the Ministry of Energy authorities.
Ross MAP compares 16 international studies considering aspects such as power grid capacity, power matrix security, environmental and energy costs.
Thirteen of those studies indicate that the rate should cancel more than what the net billing currently does (it currently pays approximately 60% of the consumer’s energy usage), and in eight studies more than what the net metering currently does (it reimburses the consumer at a 1/1 ratio between energy generation and usage).
The study acknowledges that in the current conditions of the market, at an average payback time or return on investment of nine years, Chilean residential solar energy is not attractive enough to promote its widespread use. The study suggests an average payback time of five years.
Key factors to improve upon (problems to solve): Lack of financing, with existing rates of 20%, public policy favoring larger facilities, law of distributed generation that allows auto-consumption but that does not promote it, consumer perception misaligned with reality (due to misinformation) that makes the sale of the system more difficult for vendors, slow and cumbersome process of connection, and generalized reticence towards subsidies.
According to the study, two chief variables must be used in combination in order to develop the Chilean market: Firstly, changing the feed-in-tariffs, from net billing to net metering.
This wouldn’t be a subsidy for the solar industry, like some economic actors suggest. Rather, it is a call to assess and consider all positive externalities of solar energy. In addition to the already mentioned, the positive effects on the labor arena “should be assessed and quantified.”
Secondly, developing a specific financing system for the solar distributive generation industry. One option would be to include it in the mortgage payment. Another option would be to create financial instruments for the leasing of solar systems.
In terms of the process of connection, which was also covered in the study, the Ministry of Energy is currently modifying regulation pertaining to Law 20.571, which expedites and simplifies small-scale connections. According to Acesol, this is a step in the right direction.
May 17, 2016
As a follow-up to Erb Faculty Director, Joe Arvai’s publication in Nature Climate Change, Michigan Radio talks with Joe about his recent research which attempts to understand exactly what it takes to get people to care about climate change. This study was co-authored with Jing Shi, Vivianne H.M. Visschers and Michael Siegrist and is published in Nature Climate Change (April 2016.)
What they found seems to refute the popular line of thinking that culture is the biggest factor in whether we care and are willing to do something about climate change.
Joe Arvai is the Max McGraw Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the School of Natural Resources and he directs the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise. Arvai tells us that while culture plays a role, it doesn’t appear to be the biggest factor. Listen to the podcast .pdf link
March 9, 2016
Erb Faculty Member, Tom Lyon opines that although Warren Buffet and Berkshire Hathaway’s record of astute financial moves is hard to argue with, he may be missing the mark in terms of under-estimating the pace and acceleration of climate change and what that means for business. Read the full Guardian article. (.pdf)
March 3, 2016
Erb Faculty Member, Andy Hoffman was quoted and featured for his work on “The Fourth Wave” in the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation’s 2015 Annual Report. Read more
“Today, with little sustained attention to critical sustainability issues like poverty, climate change, species extinction, social unrest, equity, and fairness in a rapidly globalized world, some have begun to question whether business schools are falling out of step and irrelevant to the world of practice and whether the modern business school must fundamentally alter its teaching and research in order to respond to the environmental and social challenges of the twenty-first century.”
-Andrew Hoffman, Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan and Education Director of the Graham Sustainability Institute
February 29, 2016
Shared-X is a for-profit impact company working to revamp agricultural practices and models for high value specialty crops like organic bananas, aromatic cocoa and specialty coffee in developing countries. They strive to close the agricultural yield gap to equitably produce more food, lift rural farmers out of poverty and minimize their impact on the planet.
Erb Student Involvement
Erb Strategic Advisory Council (SAC) Member, John Denniston and his business partner, Tony Salas visited U-M in September 2015 to share collaboration opportunities with Erb Institute MBA/MS dual-degree students. This cutting-edge model sparked the interest of Erb students so much so that a group of 16 students gathered together after the event to strategize potential student involvement with Shared-X.
On the ground experience
Two Erb students from this group, Carissa De Young and Bob Kraynak, traveled to Peru in December 2015 to see the Shared-X model in action, with the goal of reporting their findings back to the group. Carissa and Bob connected and interacted with a variety of stakeholders: farmers, distributors and many others who bring Shared-X to life. This trip gave the students better insight into the production process and will allow the Business Impact Group (BIG) to make improved recommendations for scaling the impact Shared-X can have on rural farmers in Peru.
A few photos from Carissa and Bob’s December 2015 trip to Peru:
February 2, 2016
During this webinar, we will talk about upcoming deadlines, ways to get involved with Erb, and some of the exciting projects that are going on at the Institute and Erb Recruitment Scholarships.
November 6, 2015
Sharon Flynn visited campus and held a career and discussion focused student workshops on October 30, 2015.
Sharon’s career has spanned the globe in identifying critical stakeholder issues and developing and implementing plans that benefit all stakeholders. Furthermore, ‘stakeholder engagement’ was defined as a means, not an end. Sharon indicated that impact comes from the dialogue established between stakeholders; recognizing who needs to be at the table, building trust and empathy with indigenous populations and using anthropological skills to understand the community. Much of Sharon’s success in creating that dialogue was not necessarily in being the expert, but being able to digest and assimilate disparate views and information.
A closing piece of advice from Sharon was “not to shut off any sectors, consider the opportunity and have a key grasp on the Leadership, systems and competency” in any organization you consider for for a career.
September 14, 2015
On Sunday, September 13th, Erb Students met with John Denniston (Erb SAC Member) and Tony Salas to learn more about their recently launched for-profit impact company called Shared-X. Topics of discussion included compelling arguments for business to take the lead on closing the agricultural yield gap and raising thousands out of poverty. Learn more about Shared-X
Kathleen McLaughlin is the Chief Sustainability Officer for Walmart, and the President of the Walmart Foundation. Walmart uses its strengths to create economic opportunity for individuals and foster inclusive economic development; enhance the sustainability of food, apparel, and general merchandise supply chains; and strengthen the resilience of local communities. Last year, in addition to business initiatives investing in people and businesses in supply chains, the company surpassed over $1.4 billion in giving worldwide, including $1 billion of food donations. McLaughlin joined Walmart in 2013. Before that, she spent over 20 years with the global consulting firm McKinsey & Company. McLaughlin earned a Bachelor of Science from Boston University, and she also earned a Master of Arts from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar.
Mark your calendars! We look forward to welcoming you to Ann Arbor starting with an informal reception on Thursday, October 13. Scheduled programming will run from Friday, October 14-Saturday, October 15. The registration site is now open. We will continue to update the agenda as we fill in programming.
Erb Returns is a time to reconnect and network with fellow alumni and to reinvigorate your passion for sustainability! Programming will include breakout sessions and hands-on workshops. We are looking for alumni to give Ted Talks, lead sessions, present on innovative work, share major lessons you’ve learned navigating careers that incorporate your passion for sustainability and share best practices in your work. We will be sending out a call for proposals in early summer.