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Community solar the way to go

To the Journal editor;

Community solar, which allows residents to subscribe to third-party-owned solar arrays in exchange for energy bill credits, is an idea whose time has come in Michigan.

The Michigan Senate Committee on Energy and Environment will hold a hearing Thursday on SB 0152 and 0153 that would allow the development of community solar projects limited to 5 megawatts in size.

State Sens. Ed McBroom (R) and Jeff Irwin (D) sponsored these bills. The Senate bills, as well as their House versions (HB 4464 and 4465) have bi-partisan support.

These bills specifically would allow anyone with space — homeowners, small businesses, government buildings, schools, and churches — to install and share a solar facility with their members or neighbors.

These arrays can be built on small parcels of underutilized farmland, large commercial rooftops, parking lots, brownfields, or reclaimed mining lands.

These projects can be rapidly deployed (2 years or less), unlike larger projects which may take years to site and develop. It is currently operating in 22 states.

Community solar gives people who rent, those whose homes are not suitable for a solar installation, and those who cannot afford the upfront investment, a chance to access this clean energy, often with a reduction in rates.

It also helps lower grid costs for all ratepayers and increase grid reliability and resilience.

Because these projects are local, it leads to increased tax revenue for local jurisdictions, creates local jobs, and reduces the need to import energy from out of the state.

For more information on the benefits of community solar and the hurdles of getting this legislation passed, visit https://energynews.us/2023/12/07/republicans-and-democrats-want-community-solar-why-wont-michigan-legislators-enable-it/

Please join in thanking McBroom (517-373-7840) and state Rep. Jenn Hill (517-373-0498) for supporting community solar legislation.

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