Muskegon Metro Area News
Typography
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

It's been a bit since the announcement of the solar farm at the Muskegon Resource Recovery Center.  Consumers Energy is investing heavily in Muskegon County as they move to switch from coal produced power to renewable sources and work toward net zero emissions which includes wind and solar.  We waited to meet up with Rich Houtteman who is the Lakeshore Community Affairs Manager to talk about this amazing opportunity for our county and to help dispel some of the rumors that are attached.

 

 

Let's begin with this. The solar farm is a project.  It's designed to be a 25-30 year project because, in that window of time, something new can come along and change everything.  In 30 years, solar may be the last thing we think about when it comes to energy.  Who knows?  When the time comes, if no longer needed, the land is easily reverted back to agriculture and there's a plan in place already should that be the case.  Then we have the concerns like solar panels creating glare, or noise, or electro magnetic fields.  There might be a little glare, but nestled away back where this will be...chances are you can leave the sun glasses home.  Magnetic fields?  An Electro Magnetic Field in your house from your every day appliances is about the same and the further away from the appliance or solar panel you are, the safer you are.  Noise?  Some.  Not audible above ambient noise or outside the facility fence.  Solar panels are enclosed and don't mix with water or vaporize into the air and they are sealed and tested to withstand all normal weather conditions, the EPA has this one taken care of well in advance. 

So, now that we can set aside the ideas created by the world of experts on social media let's talk about the benefits.  First of all, no more coal burning.  It's been a beneficial resource, but to be able to move away from anything that emits greenhouse gasses can't hurt.  Next, jobs.  In the long run, it's not going to take a lot of people to run this facility, but to get it up to speed...you're going to see Apple Ave turn into one busy corridor with people being hired to get working.  The county, Moorland Township and Ravenna Schools will all be beneficiaries as well and to see any help to rural townships and school districts is a HUGE win.  Finally, let's talk about what the final product will be. 

This site covers 3 square miles.  There are going to be 550,000 panels, 110.000 pilings, 1000 acres, 2 substations and it's interconnected to the grid.  It will generate 250 Megawatts of power and power about 40,000 homes.  This is the kind of thing that's seen on documentary television with people standing there in awe at what's happening.  It's happening right here in Muskegon, and with the space used the way it is at the Resource Recovery Center, it's spot on for making the best use out of the natural environment for energy solutions. 

There is a NEWS RELEASE SITE you can learn more at for the moment, and there will be a website soon, plus, we'll be following this along as it progresses.  Stay tuned.    

Our thanks to Rich Houtteman for squeezing in a few minutes today to help explain the massive project, and massive benefits we'll all be sharing.  It's great to know that Consumers Energy is planning 30 years down the road already.  

Consumers Energy Logo