Michigan plant now powers water filtration services with solar

The Lake Michigan Filtration Plant (LMFP) in Grand Rapids, Michigan is now partially powered by on-site solar. The 900-kWAC ground-mounted array is built on nearly three acres of property on the LMFP property.

Credit: City of Grand Rapids

The Grand Rapids Water Department is expected to save an estimated net of $1.55 million in energy costs over 24 years based. The array will account for 10% of the LMFP’s electricity consumption and is expected to increase the city’s renewable energy performance from 37.5% to 41%

Grand Rapids is a regional provider of drinking water to municipalities in Kent and Ottawa counties, serving a population of over 300,000 by treating water from Lake Michigan and pumping it to a service area of ​​137 square miles. The LMFP used 17,236,501 kWh of electricity in 2020, which was 23% of all electricity used by Grand Rapids municipal operations.

“Today’s ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrates the partnership between CMS Energy and the city of Grand Rapids as we help lead Michigan’s clean energy transformation,” said Brian Rich, senior VP and chief customer officer at CMS Energy. “The new onsite solar plant at the Lake Michigan Filtration Plant represents another step forward for the city as it commits to using 100% renewable energy for its municipal operations, and CMS Energy is proud to play a role in helping to make this goal a reality .”

In late summer 2020, the City, CMS Energy and ES Services began collaborating on innovative ways to install solar at the 67-acre LMFP. In early October 2020, the City’s sustainability and performance management officer, Alison Waske Sutter, provided the City Commission with an overview of renewable energy performance and opportunities and recommended that the City pursue a solar array at the LMFP. On Dec. 1, 2020, the City Commission approved the City entering into a Solar Equipment Service Contract with ES Services Company to construct, own and operate a solar array at the LMPF for an annual cost to the City’s Water Department of $119.004, which equals $2.86 million over the 24-year contract term.

The LMFP was identified as a potential solar site through a SolSmart analysis. The city commissioned ES Services Company to build the array. This fall, CMS Energy will coordinate the planting of a nearly 3-acre pollinator field of native wildflowers.

News item from the City of Grand Rapids

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