Traverse City Officials, Students Help With Renewable Energy Goal

Traverse City voted to set a goal to be 100 percent renewable energy by 2040 and students at Traverse City Central High School are helping them reach that goal with their new solar array.

“I guess it’s just a lesson that you really need to take the opportunities that you have and believe that you can make a difference,” said recent graduate Elliott Smith.

Months of hard work and $71,000 raised, two students are the reason solar panels now sit on school grounds.

“We’ve got two 10 kilowatt arrays in total they’re going to provide about two percent of Central High School’s power and that amounts to about $4,000 a year offsetting about 20 tons of carbon which is the equivalent of planting 1,000 trees per year,” said recent graduate Martin Chown.

Smith now off to Yale and Chown off to the University of Michigan are happy to see their community also taking steps toward cleaner energy, as Traverse City is first city in the state to commit to a community wide 100 percent goal.

“Sure I mean I guess I don’t know want to credit for the small part we played but I guess I can,” said Smith.

“It’s going to be a cultural and philosophy change but the bottom line is that we will be looking at investing differently in regard to the types of energy’s that we purchase,” said Traverse City manager Marty Colburn.

The city also set a goal to be 40% renewable energy by 2025 and now right now the city as at 12 percent.