East Lansing Solar Park to Produce Renewable Energy This Year

Wednesday, October 10, 2018, 7:46 am
By: 
Paige Filice

Customers signed up for the Community Energy Options solar park in East Lansing received good news this week: Michigan Energy Options and Lansing Board of Water and Light announced the solar array will be producing renewable energy by the end of this year (2018).

Community Energy Options received rental rights for 2.7 acres of Burcham Park at the July East Lansing City Council meeting. The solar park was announced nearly three years ago and has experienced countless delays.

A positive outcome of the delays, however, is the selection of more efficient solar panels than originally planned at the site, resulting in slightly higher utility billing credits for customers leasing solar panels. Lessees receive a proportional percentage of utility bill credit that is equal to the amount of energy their leased solar panels produce.

Even with the unanticipated delays, some East Lansing residents are still excited to participate and anxious to start receiving their renewable energy.

“This is such a great local opportunity to make a global environmental difference and to be part of a solar energy solution,” said East Lansing resident Patty Bonito. She invested in the project in early 2017 and has been eager to receive solar energy ever since.

Another East Lansing resident, Erica Bond, invested in five panels in February 2017 and expressed a similar opinion when asked what motivated her household to enroll in the program.

“I hope to encourage the adoption of solar power and to do our part for the environment. The money savings is just a bonus.”

Like many households in East Lansing, Erica Bond’s home is fairly wooded and is not suited to personal solar panels.

Along with the solar panels, Community Energy Options will be planting and maintaining native wildflowers and grasses at Burcham Park. Native plants will provide an important food source for pollinating insects and wild birds as well as beautify the park. The site will also include a sculpture by Jim Cunningham, a local artist whose works have appeared around the world.

Community Energy Options is still accepting applications for solar panel leasing. Any Lansing Board of Water and Light (BWL) electric customer in good standing is eligible, including residential, commercial, industrial and institutional customers.

The upfront cost to lease one 315-watt equivalent solar panel for 25 years is $399. Participants can lease as many panels as they desire, as long as it is not producing more energy than they are consuming at their residence or business.

If you are interested in learning more visit the Michigan Community Solar website.