L'Anse looking into community solar power

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L'ANSE, Mich. (WLUC) -- L'Anse wants to go solar. Proponents say solar energy is an environmentally-friendly power source that can save on energy costs in the long run, and many local residents have expressed interest in it.

The Village of L'Anse is beginning a feasibility study for a community solar power system.

So the village is beginning a feasibility study for a community solar power system.

"We can hopefully appropriately build a scalable project that will fit the needs of the residents of our community and offer them access to this technology in a way that's both economically feasible and good for the environment," L'Anse Village Manager Robert LaFave said.

The village has received a $27,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) and a $10,000 voucher from the U.S. Department of Energy's Sunshot Initiative to begin the process, run by a six-person committee of scientists, academics and government workers. They said the cost of buying and installing solar panels can be prohibitively expensive for individuals, but a community solar garden lowers the price for everyone.

"Most residential customers have a hurdle of doing solar PV, so putting these installations in reduces those hurdles that they can have renewable energy," said Brett Niemi, energy services representative for WPPI Energy.

The solar panels would be installed in the future L'Anse Industrial Park, to be built near the intersection of US-41 and Lambert Rd. Part of the park's original design included space for green components.

The feasibility study is expected to take about a year, with community input meetings beginning in late summer and community surveys starting in early autumn.

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