Community solar is a new and exciting way for individuals to support clean, renewable energy without having to install solar panels on their own roof. By receiving on-bill utility credits, customers can now contribute to clean energy without the hassle and cost of a personal installation. With two community solar projects already underway in Michigan, and plans for more in the future, it’s clear that this is a growing trend in the state.
MEO and Elevate Energy are leading the charge in community solar, currently implementing and managing the two community solar projects in East Lansing and Marquette. These solar projects not only bring clean energy to these communities, but also introduce pollinator-friendly plants to the sites. The native, drought-tolerant vegetation helps aid in the declining populations of honeybees and other pollinating species.
Pollinator-friendly solar power is a win-win. Instead of using gravel or turf grass (common for solar installations), native pollinator species can improve soil and water quality by increasing organic matter and reducing stormwater runoff. Native wildflowers, grasses, forbs, and similar species also provide habitat, and are aesthetically pleasing.
MEO is working with national experts to design these projects to be pioneering models for future solar developments across the state. Their network includes the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Environmental Protection Agency, Fresh Energy of Minnesota, MSU Extension, and Department of Energy.
If you have apiary, native wildflower, or other relevant expertise, and would like to join our “groundbreaking” effort, MEO would love to hear from you. By joining together, we can make a brighter and cleaner future for Michigan.