Michigan State study outlines big economic payoff for opening community solar market

Community expansion in Michigan would add nearly $1.5 billion to the state’s economy over the next three decades, according to a study released by Michigan State University (MSU).

The study, conducted this fall by MSU Product Center/Center for Economic Analysis, examined the impact that a 900 MW expansion of community solar over a five-year period would have in Michigan, enough energy to power approximately 171,000 homes. to provide. It was led by Drs. Steven R. Miller and William Knudson of MSU’s Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics.

Researchers concluded that the installation and ongoing maintenance of community solar projects in Michigan would create 18,500 high-paying jobs and contribute $1.4 billion to the economy over the next 30 years.

“After analyzing the economic contributions of solar from the community, it is clear that the addition of these types of installations will contribute significantly to the energy and general economy of the state,” said Dr. Miller. “There is no doubt that this would give Michigan a positive advantage according to our analysis.”

According to the analysis, installing community solar projects across the state would support 900 high-paying jobs each year for five years, generate approximately $318.56 million in labor income over 30 years and contribute nearly $475 million to the cumulative gross state product.

A single installation of a 5 MW community solar project would directly employ about 15 workers in Michigan and support about 30 high-paying jobs with incomes of just under $2 million, when secondary effects are taken into account. In addition, the analysis estimates that a single 5 MW community solar project will contribute nearly $3 million in gross domestic project annually during the installation phase.

“Community solar is a win-win for Michigan and this important new study from researchers at Michigan State University proves it,” said Jim Murray, director of the Midwest Coalition for Community Solar Access. “Michigan would greatly benefit from the significant jobs and economic impact community solar would have in our state, including rural, urban and suburban areas. We urge lawmakers to pass community solar legislation so that the hardworking people of Michigan can begin to realize these substantial economic benefits.”

The study identified how the ongoing operation and maintenance of community solar projects would also contribute to the economy. The research showed that annual operations and maintenance associated with one facility would support three high-paying jobs, contribute nearly $180,000 in annual labor income, and contribute about $414,210 to the gross state product. Over its 25-year lifespan and across all projected solar projects in the community, operating and maintenance expenditures would directly or indirectly support 423 high-paying jobs per year, total labor income of $412.36 million and a cumulative gross state product of $952 .01 million.

“The numbers are clear – community solar will provide us with the kind of economic and infrastructure support Michigan really needs, while also increasing customer choice, competition and savings on bills, to build a more resilient energy grid.” to create,” said Ed Rivet, executive director of Michigan Conservative Energy Forum. “It is time to make renewable energy available to all of our residents by expanding access to solar energy.”

Community solar refers to a solar panel located in a community where multiple customers can subscribe and receive credits on their utility bill for their share of the power produced, just as if the panels were on their own roof. Community solar allows people to be connected to a local solar installation, giving subscribers equal access to the economic and environmental benefits of solar energy.

The Michigan Community Solar Alliance (MCSA) was formed in May 2021 to advocate for the expansion of community solar in Michigan. Policy restrictions are currently preventing the expansion of community solar in Michigan, and the alliance is calling for the passage of House Bills 4715 and 4716, sponsored by state representatives Michele Hoitenga and Rachel Hood.

News item from MCSA

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