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BWL Announces Completion of Expanded Cedar Street Solar Array

Contact: BWL Media Line | 517-342-1026

7/22/2014 12:30:00 PM

The Lansing Board of Water & Light announced today the completion of the expanded Cedar Street Solar Array. The project’s expansion added 385 solar panels to an existing 432 panels, almost tripling the array’s generating capacity from 54kW to 158 kW.

“These new panels are more efficient, can produce twice as much electricity in less space and at one third the cost than the original,” said General Manager J. Peter Lark.

The original Cedar Street Array was built in 2008 using Uni-Solar panels that were capable of producing 124 watts at their peak. The new panels are made by Suniva and can produce 265 watts at their peak. The angle of the new panels was also adjusted from 40 degrees to 30 degrees to take the most advantage of the sunlight.

“The Lansing Board of Water & Light is on the forefront of sustainability and true leaders in the renewable energy marketplace,” said Lark. “The expanded project doesn’t require operating, maintenance or fuel costs. It simply runs off Pure Michigan sunlight and can power around 80 homes with clean, renewable energy.”

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero said BWL’s expanded solar power program helps reduce dependence on coal and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “The BWL is known for its leadership in providing renewable energy to its customers, and solar energy is leading the way in giving our community cleaner and greener energy,” he said.

The Cedar Street Solar Array was built above a 10-million gallon drinking water reservoir, connected to the historic Dye Water Conditioning Plant across the street, where one location can deliver both clean water and clean energy to customers.

The BWL has also issued an RFP – or Request for Proposals, due in August for a Community Solar Project. The project seeks to contract with companies or organizations that are interested in supplying the BWL with up to five megawatts of solar energy. A five megawatt solar energy installation would be the largest solar power facility in Michigan and approximately five times larger than the next largest array.

“Community solar projects allow residents the ability to purchase clean, renewable energy from the sun without having to install the panels on their home,” said Lark.

The BWL is a leader in renewable energy, and was the first utility in Michigan to develop a renewable portfolio standard. Renewables are expected to represent just over 6 percent of BWL’s total generating capacity by the end of 2014. Adding additional solar generation in Lansing will keep the BWL on track to meet the 10 percent renewable energy goal by 2015, as established by Michigan law.

In addition to the BWL Cedar Street Solar Array, the BWL’s renewable energy portfolio includes the BWL Moores Park hydroelectric unit along the Grand River. The BWL’s REO Town Headquarters and Cogeneration Plant has solar panels on the headquarters building roof and a regenerative hydrogen fuel cell. The BWL has agreements with Lansing’s Granger Landfill Energy which operates two facilities that generates landfill gas into electricity, and Tower/Kleber Hydro which operates two northern Michigan hydroelectric units near Cheboygan. The BWL is also adding a wind component, which will begin production in fall of 2014, resulting in over 6 percent of the BWL total retail electric generation coming from renewables.