Michigan utility seeks landowners, communities to site solar arrays

Consumers Energy is seeking partnerships with landowners and communities for siting utility-scale solar arrays

click to enlarge Solar panel array west of Traverse City. - SHUTTERSTOCK
Shutterstock
Solar panel array west of Traverse City.

As Michigan aims to reach economy-wide carbon neutrality by 2050, with interim 2030 goals, the state's largest utility is working to transition its energy sources to renewables.

Consumers Energy is seeking partnerships with landowners and communities for siting utility-scale solar arrays.

Dennis Dobbs, vice president of enterprise project management and environmental services for Consumers Energy, noted they have already begun adding 1,100 megawatts of solar capacity to be ready by 2024.

"A typical solar plant for utility scale, which is the most cost-effective way to deliver solar, is going to be somewhere in the 100 to 150 megawatts size," Dobbs explained. "And that is going to take — just for one plant — roughly 500 to 1,000 acres. And so we're going to need quite a bit of land."

Dobbs pointed out the best prospects for solar plant land are flat, open, relatively free of trees and accessible to the sun. Parcels could include farm fields — especially those less than ideal for growing crops — brownfield sites or publicly owned properties.

Dobbs added the solar effort is part of the utility's proposed Clean Energy Plan, which would reduce carbon emissions by more than 63 million tons.

"We need landowners that are interested in having solar and actually getting some of the benefits of solar," Dobbs outlined. "And then local communities and leaders who really want to have solar as part of their communities, and then reaping the benefits that come along with that."

He emphasized solar brings economic benefits to both landowners and local communities. Landowners can enter into long-term easement agreements with the company to create an ongoing revenue source, and solar plants create hundreds of construction jobs.

Stay connected with Detroit Metro Times. Subscribe to our newsletters, and follow us on Google News, Apple News, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, or TikTok.

Scroll to read more Michigan News articles
Join the Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.

Newsletters

Join Detroit Metro Times Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.