The Future’s so Bright: Michigan Large-Scale Solar Update

With summer officially upon us, the days are getting longer and the sun is getting brighter. It’s the perfect time to check in on the progress of large-scale solar power projects in Michigan.

Lapeer Solar Park Installation Underway

DTE Energy has begun installation of solar panels in two large-scale solar projects in Lapeer, Michigan.These two projects will:

  1. Produce enough electricity to power more than 9,000 homes.
  2. Generate roughly 150 temporary construction jobs to assemble the nearly 200,000 solar panels involved.
  3. Be part of the 31 solar parks DTE Energy plans to bring online by the end of 2016 “capable of powering more than 14,000 homes” across the state.

According to Irene Dimitry from DTE Energy, “the Lapeer solar projects further our commitment to clean energy. Through the development of renewable energy projects, like solar, we are building a more sustainable future for Michigan and providing affordable, reliable, safe and clean energy to our customers.”

Solar Gardens in Bloom

On June 10, Consumers Energy dedicated its first “utility-scale solar garden” at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan. The project will allow consumers “to use solar energy without having to install solar collectors and conversion equipment at their home.” Here’s how it works:

  1. Rows of southward-facing solar panels built in Saginaw – more than 11,000 total – collect sunlight from dawn to dusk. Even during West Michigan’s notoriously cloudy days, the array is able to produce electricity. 
  2. The panels will generate up to three mega-watts – or “enough electricity to power 600 homes.”   
  3. Consumers Energy customers can subscribe to support the solar garden through a nominal monthly fee using one of four flexible payment plans. Any customer can participate, regardless of whether they live in a single-family home, a condo, or an apartment, whether they rent or own.

Watch a video about the construction of the GVSU solar garden to learn more. Consumers Energy is currently building its next solar garden site at Western Michigan University, with plans for a third site near Mason.

Look for more large-scale projects like these as solar becomes an increasingly important part of Michigan’s energy mix.

How do you feel about the future of solar power in Michigan? Let us know your thoughts today!