The Upper Peninsula Solar Technical Assistance and Resource Team, or UPSTART, hosted a community solar forum to present basic information about their idea to install a community solar garden in L’Anse.
Residents and business owners had the opportunity to discuss different aspects of the project and share their feedback with the team.
“The big question is, you know, will this work for L’Anse, but alternatively, do folks want it in L’Anse?” said UPSTART Graduate Student Representative Emily Prehoda. “We’re also trying to determine what program design would work best for all residents. There’s some folks that are low to moderate income here in L’Anse who may not be able to afford the upfront cost of a solar PV system.”
The exact cost depends on the size of the system, but the community would be given the opportunity to purchase solar shares and earn credits on their monthly electric bills when the power is sold.
Right now, UPSTART is looking to install a 50-kilowatt system with a price of $500 per share with an estimated 15-year payback, but it is not set in stone.
Along with the feedback from the forum, the team will seek more community opinion in the future.
“We’re conducting a survey in the fall to gauge that feedback, but with more concrete details as far as financing or cost of the system, things like that. Following the survey, if everything is positive, we’re hoping to send out an RFP in the spring and then, hopefully, install would start in the summer,” said Prehoda.
If built it were to be built, the community solar project would be located in the new industrial park on Lambert Road off of U.S. 41.