Dawn Parker, EAST LANSING – – East Lansing is close to reaching an agreement with the Lansing Board of Water and Light for a community solar facility in the city, East Lansing Mayor Nathan Triplett said Friday.
“It’s no longer a question of if, but when community solar is coming to East Lansing,” Triplett said during a panel discussion on clean energy that also featured State Sen. Curtis Hertel (D-Meridian Township), State Rep. Sam Singh (D-East Lansing) and Wolfgang Bauer, senior consultant in the Office of the Executive Vice President for Administrative Service at Michigan State University.
Triplett declined further comment on the agreement, but did say the city has been working with Michigan Energy Options and other interested organizations. The installation would not cost the city anything, he said, as the city would provide the site and neither build nor operate the facility.
Any project would also have to be approved by the full city council to go forward, Triplett added, meaning there will be opportunity for public comment. A survey conducted by the city in 2014 found more than 90 percent of residents responding were in favor of community solar.
Board of Water and Light spokesperson Stephen Serkaian also confirmed East Lansing and the BWL are “working toward” an agreement, but declined further comment.
The BWL has been working on alternative energy sources, including expanding its Cedar Street solar array in 2014 to 160 kilowatts, which Serkaian said is double its previous capacity.
On Friday, MSU’s Board of Trustees approved a plan to outfit five of its parking lots with solar panel parking bays, creating what university officials say will be the largest solar array in the state.