Consumers Energy opens 1-MW solar project at Western Michigan University

CMS Energy (NYSE:CMS) utility Consumers Energy said Aug. 15 that it has opened a 1-MW solar power project at Western Michigan University.

The 1-MW solar power plant on an 8.5-acre tract of Western Michigan University property is the energy provider’s second large-scale solar project in Michigan, joining a 3-MW solar power plant that opened at Grand Valley State University in April.

The two solar power plants are part of Consumers Energy’s Solar Gardens program, in which customers support the development of new renewable energy in Michigan and reduce their carbon footprint.

Several natural gas units, each of 5 MW or less, are listed at Western Michigan University.

Participants who subscribe to Solar Gardens will receive a credit on monthly bills based on electricity that’s generated at Solar Gardens locations. Learn more about Solar Gardens online at www.ConsumersEnergy.com/solargardens.

Consumers Energy has made significant changes to how it generates energy, closing seven coal-fired power plants this year and developing renewable energy sources in Michigan.

The energy provider 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.

“We are pleased to work with Western Michigan University and the public to provide energy from new, renewable sources right here in our state,” said Dan Malone, Consumers Energy’s senior vice president of energy resources. “This solar power plant represents our commitment to powering our state reliably and sustainably, using our state’s own natural resources.”

“Western Michigan University has a longtime commitment to sustainability and helping our state use its resources wisely,” said WMU President John M. Dunn. “This new facility will allow us to contribute immediately to the production of sustainable energy for Michigan and serve in the long term as an example for how partnership and innovation can be used to meet the important interests of our community.”

 

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Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.