Michigan utility opens second campus solar farm

The state's largest utility company says it's already exceeding renewable energy requirements.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  Aug. 15, 2016 at 7:53 AM
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KALAMAZOO, Md., Aug. 15 (UPI) -- A Michigan utility company said Monday it started operations at a solar power plant in the western part of the state, its second facility on a college campus.

Spread out over 8.5 acres on the campus of Western Michigan University, utility company Consumers Energy said a maximum of 1 megawatt of solar power was now available for the area grid.

"This new facility will allow us to contribute immediately to the production of sustainable energy for Michigan," university President John Dunn said in a statement.

The campus solar facility is the utility company's second largest in the state and the second such installation on a university campus. Consumers Energy in June started service at a 17-acre, 3-megawatt, solar facility on the campus of Grand Valley State University, about 60 miles north of WMU.

The utility company touted its legacy for low-carbon development by noting it's already exceeded the state requirement of providing 10 percent of its electricity from renewable energy. The company this year said it was closing down seven of its coal-fired power plants and it already operates two wind farms in the state.

Environmental groups have questioned Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder's climate policies and commitments to renewable energy. The government has been widely criticized because of lead-contaminated drinking water in Flint.

Consumers Energy is the state's largest utility company.

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