Consumers Energy powers up community solar power plant in Michigan

stationary solar panels elp

Days after it closed seven Michigan coal plants, Consumers Energy started operations at its first large-scale solar project on 17 acres at Grand Valley State University.

"The first location in our Solar Gardens program demonstrates our commitment to building a sustainable future for Michigan," said Dan Malone, Consumers Energy's senior vice president of energy resources. "We are pleased to work with Grand Valley State University to develop a new source of renewable energy that will help power homes and businesses."

The 3 MW solar power plant on university property is the largest community solar project in Michigan, generating up to 3 MW, or enough electricity to serve 600 homes. The energy provider is building a second site at Western Michigan University, which is expected to open late this summer, and is considering another location in the Lansing area.

Consumers Energy customers are supporting the development of solar energy by enrolling in the new Solar Gardens program.

The energy provider has been active in developing renewable energy sources in Michigan. It operates two wind farms, one near Lake Michigan and one in the Thumb, and contracts to buy energy generated by wind, landfill gas, anaerobic digestion and hydroelectric generation.

Consumers Energy also has contracted to buy energy from a 100 MW wind farm under construction in Michigan's Thumb and has helped Michigan State University transition its on-campus power plant from coal to natural gas as a fuel source.

"Solar Gardens is part of our commitment to ensure that future generations in Michigan have affordable, reliable and increasingly clean energy," Malone said.

Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest utility, is the principal unit of CMS Energy, providing natural gas and electricity to 6.7 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

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