Four new solar projects set to come online next year for Consumers Energy

Consumer energy expects to begin purchasing electricity from four new solar projects next year that will add more than 100 megawatts of renewable energy to the utility’s generation mix.

Jackson-based Consumers Energy will source power from four third-party developments rather than owning the projects. The solar projects are located in Allegan, Lenawee, Manistee and Washtenaw counties.

San Diego, California-based developer of solar and energy storage systems Borrego announced this month that it is overseeing the design, procurement and construction of its first three Michigan solar projects in Cement City, Pullman and Letts Creek. The projects are expected to be online by mid-2022 and are owned and operated by AES Corp. The total of 72 MW of electricity is sold to consumers under electricity purchase agreements.

Brian Barker, general manager of Borrego’s Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) business, said the Michigan solar development opportunity is broadly “great”.

“Politics and public demand are really driving the adoption of renewable energy,” said Barker MiBiz. “The opportunity for us is to come to Michigan, learn the local nuances and local labor and subcontracting partners, and understand more about how best to work with utilities.”

Construction has begun on the 26 MW project in Pullman, southwest Allegan County, Barker said, while the company plans to “begin mobilizing as soon as possible at the other two locations in Lenawee and Washtenaw Counties.”

Meanwhile, Consumers also announced last month that it had signed a 20-year power purchase agreement for 30 MW of power from the Heathland Solar project, which is being developed on a former golf course in Onekama, Manistee County. This project is being built by Dutch companies Prism Power Partners LLC.

“We are solar powered and are proud to partner with another Michigan company to create a cleaner, more sustainable energy future for our state by reusing precious land and protecting the planet for future generations,” Tim Sparks, Vice President of Electric Grid Integration at Consumers Energy, said in an announcement about the Onekama project. “We are leading the transformation of the state to clean energy as we deliver the affordable and reliable electricity our homes and businesses need for decades to come.”

The clean energy consumer plan submitted to state regulators calls for expanding its portfolio to include nearly 8,000 MW of solar power from utilities and third parties, including approximately 1,100 MW by 2024.

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