Utility-scale Solar

Utility-scale solar projects are poised for quick expansion—both in terms of numbers of projects and the scale of those projects. There is currently a 239 MW solar farm under construction in Shiawassee County that will single-handedly triple the state’s installed solar capacity when it fully comes online. 

Utility-scale solar energy systems typically use panels that are affixed to support posts that are driven into the ground. The support structures can be made taller to create, for example, covered carports, as has been done on Michigan State University’s campus. Solar panels can also be mounted on ballasted supports (effectively heavy concrete blocks) and sit on top of the ground, which is more expensive, but allows solar panels to be deployed on brownfield sites including capped landfills, where you cannot penetrate the ground. Solar panels themselves can be fixed—facing the same direction all day—or may be “tracking” systems, rotating slowly to follow the sun throughout the day.

Learn about renewable energy projects in rural communities around Michigan.