In The News: Community Solar Parks to be Developed in Cities of East Lansing and Lansing

MI Community SolarNews Release

EAST LANSING— Officials from the Lansing Board of Water & Light (BWL), City of East Lansing and City of Lansing announced plans today to build the first community solar parks in BWL’s service territory. The announcement was held at East Lansing’s Burcham Park, a retired landfill site and the proposed location of the first of the two community solar developments.

Following completion of the East Lansing community solar park, the BWL and project partners intend to build a second community solar park adjacent to the BWL Wise Road Water Treatment Plant in Lansing. Each solar park is expected to produce 300 kilowatts of power.

All BWL residential and commercial electric customers are eligible to participate in the community solar program. Community solar allows participants to enjoy the benefits of solar power without having to install and maintain panels on their homes or businesses.

Participants in the BWL program will be able to lease a panel, or panels, for 25 years and receive credit on their BWL electric utility bill for the solar power their lease produces. The lease cost for a 300-watt solar panel is $399, which is a favorable industry price point.

“The BWL is a leader in providing our customers with clean and green renewable energy,” said Dick Peffley, BWL general manager. “The BWL was Michigan’s first utility to adopt a renewable energy portfolio and initiate a comprehensive energy efficiency program. Our new Community Solar Program will continue to provide BWL customers with cleaner energy, as we remain committed to providing energy efficiency and renewable energy to our customers.”

The BWL has been a leader in implementing solar energy in Michigan with the largest municipally-owned solar array, a distributed solar energy program, and is in the process of contracting for a large utility-scale array. The BWL also provides its customers with wind energy from a wind park in Ithaca, Michigan, landfill gas energy from Granger waste facilities and hydro-electric power. BWL’s state-of-the-art REO Town Cogeneration Plant is among the cleanest and most efficient in the country.

Referring to the first BWL community solar park being developed in East Lansing, Mayor Nathan Triplett said, “East Lansing has made significant investments in energy efficiency, adopted groundbreaking policies that promote green procurement and sustainable building, and built a state-of-the-art, single-stream recycling program. This community solar park is yet another example of that continued leadership and commitment.”

“The community solar program is yet another shining example of regional cooperation and our collaborative efforts to make metro Lansing cleaner and greener,” said Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero. “I am proud of BWL’s continued commitment to clean, sustainable energy the community engagement process they recently launched to replace the coal-fired Eckert Power Station. There’s no turning back on providing the cleaner and greener energy our citizens are asking for, and that’s exactly what we are doing with this innovative solar program.”

The solar array will occupy approximately one acre in the 24-acre Burcham Park in East Lansing. The East Lansing and Lansing sites are slated to have 1,000 solar panels each, for a total of up to 300 kilowatts. The East Lansing community solar park will be leased to 80 percent capacity before construction begins.

Other project partners include Patriot Solar Group, a solar developer, manufacturer and contractor based in Albion, Michigan; David Gard, LLC; Rich VanderVeen, Mackinaw Power LLC; and Michigan Energy Options, a nonprofit with offices in East Lansing and Marquette, Michigan.

BWL electric customers can pre-register for the program by going to

Formal registration will follow later this year with pre-registrants being notified when leasing panels will be available.


  • Proposed solar array size for each site is 1,000 solar panels, each rated at 300 watts, for a total of 300 kilowatts.
  • The first community solar park will be located at a retired landfill site at Burcham Park in East Lansing.
  • The second community solar park will be located adjacent to the BWL Wise Road Water Treatment Plant in Lansing.
  • The community solar arrays will occupy approximately one acre each.
  • Participants will sign a 25-year lease and pay an upfront cost of $399 per solar panel. Participants can lease more than one solar panel if they wish.
  • Annual electricity production of the Burcham Park community solar array will be about 385,000 kilowatt-hours, or enough to power 55 average households for a year.
  • BWL electric residential and commercial customers are eligible to participate in the community solar program whether or not if they are located in East Lansing or Lansing.
  • Pre-registration via begins on Monday, October 19. Formal registration will follow later this year.
  • Construction will begin on the East Lansing project when at least 80 percent of the panels have been leased. The Lansing project will follow that.

View news release at Lansing Board of Water & Light