Will solar power work in the U.P.?

L’ANSE — Don’t let anyone tell you that solar power won’t work in the Keweenaw. Not only does it work, but it’s efficient and cost-effective even during a long U.P. winter.

The residents of the Village of L’Anse could find that out for themselves, depending on the results of a study to be conducted this fall.

MTU Environmental & Energy Program Graduate Student Emily Prehoda said, “Generally, we really are trying to get feedback on the financial model that we’re going to choose, as well as their support for it as well. We know that solar power is technically feasible up here, but social acceptance is something that also really couples that.”

The collaboration known as UPSTART, consisting of the Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region, the Village of L’Anse, WPPI Energy, and Michigan Tech’s Keweenaw Research Center and Department of Social Sciences, will be conducting the survey along with students from Michigan Tech.

Residents of the village buy their power from WPPI Energy, a non-profit company, so finding a cheaper alternative works well for everyone.

Brett Niemi, Energy Services Representative for WPPI Energy, said, “The Village of L’Anse actually initiated this. They were interested in providing community solar to their electric customers. The Village of L’Anse has their own municipal electric utility, so they have the opportunity to provide this to them.”