MARQUETTE – The Marquette Board of Light and Power’s (MBLP’s) 480 panel Community Solar Garden began producing clean, renewable energy September 19 on a bright, sunny fall day. The MBLP’s Solar Garden located adjacent to the utility’s Main Office and new Marquette Energy Center on Wright St. is the first commercial solar project in the Upper Peninsula which allows customers to participate in renewable solar power without having to install solar panels on their homes or property.

MBLP customers so far have purchased 322 panels at a cost of $499 per panel and will receive a $.063 per kilowatt (kWh) credit beginning on their November light bills for power generated by the solar panels.  It is estimated that each panel will annually produce an average of 382 kWh resulting in just over $24 in solar credits per panel. Customers can purchase as many panels as they desire as long as they are not producing more energy than they are consuming over the course of a year, up to a maximum purchase of 30 panels.  The life expectancy of the panels are 25 years with the pay back being estimated in 20 years.  Because the purchased panels are individually owned, the purchase may qualify for Federal Tax Incentives.

“The utility’s Community Solar Garden is a win-win project for the community and the MBLP,” said Acting Director Tom Carpenter. “Our customers can participate in clean, renewable solar energy and they will receive a monthly credit on their energy bills for doing so,” he said. “The MBLP is managing this program which our customers have wanted for several years now and is also good for the environment.  The time was right for us to do the project,” Carpenter said.    

Local owned and operated solar provider, Peninsula Solar was awarded the bid for the project at a cost of $276,000. The solar project is funded by those who purchase the solar panels.  The panels have a warrantee from the manufacturer and will be monitored daily for output by MBLP staff and the manufacturer. In the near future, our web site will show the daily, weekly, monthly, and annual output of the MBLP’s Community Solar Garden.

Panels are still available for purchase by calling the MBLP at 228-0313 or Michigan Energy Options at 226-0573.   For more information or to sign up, please visit www.mblpcommunitysolar.org.



The Marquette Board of Light and Power held a community forum on Wednesday June 29, 2016 in the Great Lakes Michigan Room at Northern Michigan University. The meeting was held to discuss the Rate Study for the Marquette Community Solar Garden and Net Metering Rates for residential and commercial rooftop solar projects. Chris Lund from Utility Financial Solutions presented the Solar Renewable Valuation Study, analysis and recommendations, which were given to the Board of Directors. The meeting was held to inform the public about the Renewable Rate Structures and give the public an opportunity to comment and ask questions. A copy of the presentation can be found by clicking Solar Renewable Valuation Study.