Program Overview

The community solar park will give Lansing Board of Water & Light (BWL) electric customers the opportunity to support renewable energy without having to install and maintain solar panels on their property. Instead, the solar panels will be located within the BWL’s service territory. Participants in this voluntary program will be able to lease solar panels for 25 years. The renewable energy generated by these panels will be reflected as a credit on their electric utility bill from BWL.
By using renewable resources to produce electricity, the solar park becomes eligible for renewable energy certificates (RECs). A REC is created by every megawatt-hour of electricity generated from the solar park. The RECs generated from this project belong to Patriot Solar Group and not to the utility or the participants.
Any Lansing Board of Water & Light electric customer who is in good standing is eligible to take advantage of this program. This includes residential, commercial, industrial and institutional customers. Though the solar park will be located within the jurisdictions of the City of East Lansing, BWL electric customers who live elsewhere in the region are eligible to participate as well.
It’s simple. You can easily lease solar panels for your home or business and start receiving on-bill utility credits to offset your energy costs over 25 years. It’s affordable. You can lease one or more panels to fit within your budget. It’s local. Community solar produces homegrown renewable energy.


Many people are interested in getting rooftop solar on their home or business, which is a good thing. However, not all buildings are good candidates for solar because they have poor siting to the sun, the roofs are not structurally sound enough, the buildings are rented and not owned by the occupant, or the occupant does not want to invest the upfront cost to install solar.


Community solar is “get it and forget it.” Lessees of solar panels in this program do not need to install or maintain the solar array. And these two parks are located in places that have unobstructed exposure to the sun, maximizing the amount of energy the arrays will produce.

The community solar facility will be built at Burcham Park, a retired landfill in East Lansing, on the corner of Burcham Drive and Park Lake Road. The site would include up to 1,000 solar panels and occupy an acre. The site was also chosen for its unobstructed siting to the sun, accessibility and high visibility. Once constructed, people will be able to visit and request tours.
Construction can begin on the solar facility at East Lansing’s Burcham Park as soon as 800 of the 1,000 available solar panels have been leased. This approach is to mitigate the risk to the lessees. In the event this park does not achieve the goal of leased panels, participants will have their money refunded.
Please visit our Sign Up page to complete the registration process for your community solar lease. Leases will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Take a look at others in the who are supporting community solar.

Costs & Requirements

Check out our Solar Math table to get started. This page shows estimated annual solar production associated with different quantities of panels.

However, your consumption will likely vary seasonally over the course of a year. To determine the right number of panels for your specific energy needs, contact John Krzystowczyk at BWL: John.Krzystowczyk@LBWL.COM or 517-702-6622.

The upfront cost to lease one 300-watt solar panel for 25 years is only $399, or $1.33 per watt. People may lease up to the number of panels that would generate the equivalent of their average annual electricity demand. The BWL, at its discretion, will make the final determination of the number of panels a customer can lease. View a table that shows lease costs and estimated energy output for 1 to 30 solar panels.
The amount of your on-bill utility credit will depend upon how many solar panels you lease. We estimate that a 300-watt solar panel will generate a credit to your utility bill of $20-25 in the first year. Your “payback” is estimated to be in Year 14 out of your 25-year lease. You also will not have any additional expenses for upkeep and repairs to the solar arrays: that’s the responsibility of the operating company.

You also will have the satisfaction of helping to expand the amount of renewable energy on BWL’s grid, which will reduce pollution and make our region more energy independent. The renewable energy, represented by REC ownership, belongs to Patriot Solar Group.

If a participant moves to another property within BWL’s service territory, that customer can remain in the program at the new address. People who leave the BWL system have several lease transfer opportunities. The renewable energy, represented by REC ownership, belongs to Patriot Solar Group and is not eligible for transfer of any kind. If a customer owns and is selling a building, that customer could include the pro-rated value of his/her solar lease in the building sale price. Customers could also donate the remainder of their lease to another BWL customer, including an individual, business, church, school, or a favorite charitable organization.
It’s simple:
1. Send a check to your chosen organization along with a letter of intent for the funds to go towards leasing community solar panel(s). See our template letter of intent to get started.
2. The organization will use your donation to lease panels through the MI Community Solar project.
3. The organization will send you a letter as a formal receipt of the donation for your records.
Participants will be required to read and accept the Terms and Conditions as part of their application package to the program. The application package, including the Terms and Conditions, can be found on the Sign-up page.
It doesn’t actually. Instead, solar power generated from the community solar array will go directly onto the BWL electric grid and you will receive an on-bill credit for the electricity production from your portion of the array. The renewable energy, represented by REC ownership, goes to Patriot Solar Group. All renewable energy from the solar park belongs to Patriot Solar Group and not the utility or the participants.
No, this program is only available to BWL electric customers. If you are uncertain if you are a BWL electric customer, contact us and we can determine that for you.
Can’t find your what you’re looking for? Visit our Contact page to submit a question.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Visit our Contact page to submit a question.