EGLE receives national award for solar energy program in L’Anse & Traverse City

Michigan News
L'Anse Solar Energy

L’ANSE, Mich. (WJMN) — The Village of L’Anse made a community decision when they decided to install Solar Panels to help ease residents’ power bills, but also, to have an alternative energy option.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy’s (EGLE) Michigan Solar Communities — Low to Moderate Income Access Program launched in 2018.

The Village of L’Anse is one of two Michigan communities whose apart of this program. It was a goal of Village Manager Bob LaFave’s to utilize solar energy in the community.

“It’s been an on-going process,” said Bob LaFave, Manager, Village of L’Anse.

“We had a lot of community support and getting that initiative off the ground and we had this component for low moderate-income families to participate in the program, which went really well and those are all accounted for. At this time, they’re seeing the benefits of the solar on their bill. It’s actually surpassed this last month what we thought it was going to produce.”

The energy that is created by the solar panels goes right into the local power grid, which has allowed many families to save money.

The 200 Solar Panels produce 110 kilowatts of power for 25 patrons.

L’Anse had some help from local organizations and Baraga County prior to making the decision to participate.

In a place where it snows 8 months out of the year, many questioned if it would fully work with the many cloudy and snowy days.

“Part of a team from Michigan Tech we worked with, Jay Meldrum, and the folks at the Keweenaw Research Center done a lot of work and research on these types of issues and the angle that the panels are set at and then the ambient heat that’s created from the light collecting on them that it will just shed snow all by itself, nobody has to go out there and touch or do anything.”

Recently, EGLE was given a national award by the Clean Energy States Alliance for their efforts in leading the way for Solar Energy in the State of Michigan.

“It really reflects a great deal on the folks at EGLE,” said LaFave.

“We were very excited to for the opportunity to work with them on this project and their whole team, their really great people, their really interested and try to create a program with us and fit the needs that we have in our community, so it was a great pilot program for them and I think the recognition, it’s neat to see that what we did here in our community is something that is recognized Nationally as a best practice.”

The Village has been making many energy-efficient changes and plans to continue to make this an option for its residents going forward.

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