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Feb. 14, 2020

MSU trustees approve installing a 100-acre solar farm

As part of its commitment to going greener, Michigan State University’s Board of Trustees today authorized the installation of a 20-megawatt solar array.

The array will be located on nearly 100 acres just south of MSU’s main campus between Bennett and Jolly roads. It will produce the energy equivalent of powering 4,400 homes and triple the campus’s use of renewable energy. Once complete, MSU’s solar arrays – which include previously installed solar carports – will span nearly 145 acres.

“The sustainability of our environment goes hand in hand with the well-being of our students, faculty and staff at Michigan State,” said MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. “This project not only furthers MSU’s commitment to renewable energy, it also provides a cleaner future for our campus, the world and the next generation of Spartans.”

The project is expected to cost about $2.3 million and will be funded with MSU utility reserve funds. It is estimated that the array will begin producing power by the end of 2022 and save the university at least $27 million in the next 25 years, with potential savings much higher.

“MSU’s commitment to sustainability goes beyond creating cleaner energy,” said Dianne Byrum, chairperson of the MSU Board of Trustees. “It influences our education, our research and our will to inspire global solutions to climate change. This array is just one example of the many contributions MSU makes to sustainability here at home and around the world.”

Other board activity included:

  • Approval to begin planning for a new College of Engineering student activities building.
  • Establishing the Michele M. Fluck Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Enhancement Endowment Fund.
  • A presentation from College of Human Medicine Distinguished Professor Nigel Paneth on MSU’s Center for Research in Intellectual and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities.
  • The sale of property in Leland, Michigan, to the Leelanau Community Cultural Center for continued cultural and educational programming for the community.

The next board meeting will be April 17.

By: Dan Olsen