Consumers Energy Begins Operations at Its First Community Solar Project

Consumers Energy begins operations at a massive, 17-acre solar project at GVSU.

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Solar Gardens at Grand Valley State University
Solar Gardens at Grand Valley State University

Allendale, Mich.—Soon after shutting down several coal mines in Michigan, energy provider Consumers Energy started operations at its first large-scale solar project 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.”

Situated on 17 acres, the project began in October last year and materialized into a 3-megawatt solar plant on university property, becoming the largest community solar project in Michigan. According to Consumers Energy, it will generate enough electricity to power 600 homes. Additionally, the energy provider is building a second site at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, with an opening date set for the summer. Consumers Energy is considering another location in the Lansing area.

In an effort to educate consumers on solar energy, the energy provider rolled out the Solar Gardens program. “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 is focusing on developing renewable energy sources throughout Michigan. The company currently operates two wind farms and contracts to buy energy generated by wind, landfill gas, anaerobic digestion and hydroelectric generation. The energy provider is also helping Michigan State University transition its on-campus power plant from coal to natural gas as a fuel source.

Image courtesy of Consumers Energy