Future of power looking bright in the U.P.

MARQUETTE — As we get ready to head into fall tomorrow, the weather outside is bright, and warm. But, the weather forecast isn’t the only thing in the future that is looking bright.

The Marquette Board of Light and Power has recently installed a 480 panel community solar garden at their location on Wright Street, and it’s the first community owned solar farm in the Upper Peninsula. Since Tuesday, clean, renewable energy has been produced, and the community now has a chance to be a part of it all. MBLP customers now have the option to purchase solar panels for $499 each, and they will receive .063 cents per kilowatt credit beginning on their November light bills for power generated by their panels. So far, nearly 340 of the 480 available panels have been sold.

“If a customer buys a panel, they own it for 25 years,” said Metering and Energy Program Supervisor, Kevin Downs. “We do the maintenance, we take care of the output on it, and we take of the optimization, firmware, and software upgrades – it’s all included in that price.”

But many people are concerned about winter weather. How will the solar panels work with the UP snow?

“The panels are designed and engineered so that they shed snow, there may be snow in the mornings on them when they first come up before the panels warm up on their own naturally. Usually by nine or ten in the morning, the snow has cleared off.”

To learn more about the panels and the options provided, visit www.mblp.org