The Solar Garden is a joint project of Consumers Energy and GVSU dedicated to promoting the use of alternative energy in our community. In December 2014, Consumers Energy contacted the GVSU Facilities Services and proposed plans for a Solar Garden. Initially, the solar panels would produce 1 megawatt of energy, of which GVSU agreed to buy 500 kilowatts, a $1.3 million commitment. In the fall of 2015, the project was approved by officials and it was estimated that the Solar Garden would be finished by the spring of 2016. As it nears completion, the Solar Garden has grown in capacity and it will produce 3 megawatts of energy. It is currently the largest solar garden in the state of Michigan. The solar panels used in the Solar Garden were built in Saginaw, Michigan by Suniva Inc. In 2015 alone Suniva supplied 12,000 panels to the Solar Garden.
The 3 megawatts produced by our Solar Garden will generate enough energy to power 600 homes. GVSU's subscription to 500 kilowatts will produce enough energy to power 90 homes for 1 year. Once the panels are in operation, they will provide clean, renewable energy for the next 25 years.
Approximately 90 homes in Allendale, MI - the number of homes that GVSU's subscription to the Solar Garden can power in 1 year.
Milestones of the Solar Garden Project
- December 2014 - Initial conversations with Consumers Energy
- October 1, 2015 - Contract signed
- April 18, 2016 - Commercial operation
- June 10, 2016 - Solar Garden officially completed