New Northern Michigan Solar Garden Expands Solar Energy Access

More than 4,000 new solar panels in Northern Michigan giving locals more opportunities to be a part of the solar energy movement.

The project is called Spartan Solar.

The solar garden was built in October and started generating energy the first of this year.

The garden is on M-55 in Cadillac across from Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative’s facility.

But will be providing energy for companies across the state including Cherryland Electric Cooperative.

Fox 32’s Megan Woods found out the difference it will make for them and their members

“We now have 4,352 shares available in this project.”

Spartan Solar, it’s now the largest solar garden in the region.

Rachel Johnson, Membership Relations Manager at Cherryland Electric Co-op says, “Four years ago Cherryland did the first community solar array right here at our office in grown. At that time we were able to make 224 shares available they sold out really quickly which was a good indication to us that there was more interest. So we took a waiting list and started working on a wait list and started working on a larger offering.”

Which is what Spartan Solar is. Through Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative, five other co-ops across the state, Cherryland Electric Co-op, Great Lakes Energy Co-op, HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Co-op, Midwest Energy Co-Op, and Presque Isle Electric and Gas Co-op can give customers a new solar energy opportunity.

Johnson says, “The way it works the member makes the initial investment and in return to that investment they get a share in the array, they will receive a bill credit in their electric bill every month for the kilowatt hours produced by their share in the project.”

 Vicki Olsen lives in Grand Traverse County and has five panels at Cherryland’s community solar project in Grawn and 12 at her house.

She hopes more people will join the fleet.

“I just think that’s totally awesome. I’m really excited that they’re doing another solar garden and that everybody will be able to be involved in it because not everybody can have solar. They don’t have the space in their yard, or maybe their rooftop doesn’t have the right orientation, maybe they got too many trees around.”

Cherryland Electric Co-op says they’ve contacted those on the waitlist this week and are starting to reach out to the rest of their members.

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