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GVSU and Consumers Energy dedicate 17-acre solar garden


Friday on the Grand Valley State University Campus in Allendale, the state’s largest community solar project was completed and dedicated.

Sprawling across 17 acres on the Grand Valley State University campus are more than 11,000 Michigan-made solar panels forming what is known as a Solar Garden. A field of panels that Consumers Energy tells us can collect enough energy to generate 3 megawatts of electricity - enough to power 600 typical homes.

“It can even create power on a cloudy day. As long as there’s daylight we can create solar energy.”

Roger Morgenstern is the senior public information director with Consumers Energy.

He tells us the solar garden concept has been a couple years in the making and at the request of customers.

“Customers can subscribe for the solar energy and get the benefit of knowing they’re buying renewable energy without the hassle of putting a solar array on their own rooftop.”

How much demand is there?

“We’ve seen a pretty good demand. About 55 percent of this project is already subscribed and we’ve just started taking subscriptions late last year. You can (subscribe) for as little as $10 more a month on top of your Consumers Energy electric bill.”

But it was Grand Valley State University students who made the push to locate the solar garden on campus.

GVSU President Thomas Haas explains.

"It was our students who pushed for more action to protect our environment and reduce our carbon footprint. ... The solar gardens will provide educational and research opportunities for our students and faculty."

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.
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