Brownfields are often perceived as unusable, contaminated sites that are difficult to redevelop or repurpose. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified brownfields as ideal locations for the development of solar generators. This type of adaptive reuse not only helps to address environmental concerns but also provides multiple other benefits, such as improved air and water quality, job creation, and community development. Now, thanks to a mapping tool developed by MEO, it has become easier for local officials, solar developers, utilities, and other interested parties to identify potential brownfield sites for solar development in the Marquette and Houghton regions.
The tool provides easy-to-use visualization of brownfield sites within the two regions, using Google Maps’ mapping engine and layer function. Users can view the solar potential of each site, as well as other attributes, such as acreage, proximity to transmission and substations, and site ownership. While the data presented is approximated and not meant to replace a detailed, site-specific assessment for solar development, it still provides valuable information that can help guide interested parties in their search for potential sites.
The tool is not an exhaustive inventory of potential sites, and there may be other locations that could be suitable for solar development, but provides a useful starting point for anyone interested in finding and reusing brownfield sites for solar energy projects. This mapping tool was made possible through a grant from the State of Michigan Energy Office, and the data was gathered from public sources, local officials, and federal and state agencies.
We believe the mapping tool is a step towards identifying potential brownfield sites for solar development in the Marquette and Houghton regions. By repurposing these contaminated sites into solar generators, we can address environmental concerns while also promoting sustainable energy development. The tool’s user-friendly interface and easy-to-use features make it accessible to a wide range of users, and it has the potential to make a real difference in promoting the development of solar energy in Michigan.
You can access the tool here.