Spartan Renewable Energy (Spartan) and Wolverine Power Cooperative (Wolverine) hosted an open house on Monday, June 6, to celebrate the SpartanSolar array and the individuals responsible for bringing the project to fruition.
The SpartanSolar array—Northern Michigan’s largest solar array—is located in Cadillac, Michigan across from Wolverine’s headquarters. The array began operation in December, 2016, with more than 4,000 panels generating 1.2 megawatts, enough to power 200 Northern Michigan homes at full capacity.
Spartan, a member of Wolverine, built the array as part of its vision to explore ways to make renewable energy affordable and accessible, and to specialize in renewables. The solar array and other visionary developments continue to position Wolverine and its members as Michigan’s leader in renewables with the highest percentage of new renewables of any Michigan utility, and by exceeding both present and anticipated state portfolio requirements.
The event hosted more than 50 legislators, electric cooperative members and leadership, solar array experts, and local media to commemorate the array on a fittingly sunny afternoon. The program featured speakers Eric Baker, president and chief executive officer of Wolverine Power Cooperative, Kim Molitor, president and chief executive officer of Spartan Renewable Energy, and The Honorable John Moolenaar, United States House of Representatives, Michigan’s 4th District.
In addition to Congressman Moolenaar, other officials in attendance and represented at the event advocated to bring solar power to Michigan electric co-op members in large part by helping to secure federal funding to support the project—a $500,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture. The grant was vital to locating the array in rural Northern Michigan and reducing its cost. This helped decrease panel subscription costs for Community Solar subscribers, which are among the lowest in the state.
Community Solar is an innovative way to make solar power accessible and affordable for rural electric cooperative members. With Community Solar, members passionate about making a commitment to renewable energy can subscribe to a panel instead of installing costly solar panels on their own roof.
The subscription entitles members to a share of the energy produced by the SpartanSolar array. The electric co-op continues delivering energy and subscribers receive solar credits on their utility bill. There is nothing to install, nothing to maintain, and members can cancel at any time.
More than 250 members currently subscribe in the Community Solar program and there are still plenty of opportunities for members to participate. Electric cooperative members can sign up or learn more at SpartanSolar.com.
Photo: Spartan Renewable Energy board members, executive team and staff gather to celebrate the SpartanSolar Array.