Grand Valley State University reached an agreement with Consumers Energy to partner in hosting a new solar garden. Consumers Energy had the solar garden designed, constructed and maintained and GVSU is the host. This is the largest venture in renewable energy GVSU has ever constructed. It is 25 times more than anything that has been done in the past. GVSU chose to finance the garden up front as an option and will receive a monthly credit on a Consumers Energy bill for the next 25 years.
Consumers Energy built the three megawatt solar garden on approximately 17 acres of University property near the main campus in Allendale. GVSU has agreed to subscribe for 500 kW which will produce enough electricity to operate approximately 80 homes for one year. The Solar Garden consists of approximately 11,250 panels and over 100 inverters. The project was completed in April 2016.
On the education side, GVSU will receive $55,000 to design, procure and construct 2–3 mini solar arrays. These mini arrays will be used for educational purposes for students, faculty, staff, community and first responders. In addition to those funds, the university will receive $20,000 each year for a period of 6 years for education curriculum development.