Grand Valley State University’s Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center in Muskegon has been certified as a generator of solar power, allowing the facility to gain revenue for the solar power it produces.
The certification, enabled by the state of Ohio, was developed through a partnership with Midwest Solar Aggregation Group, a subsidiary of Sustainable Energy Financing, a firm founded by Grand Valley-educated entrepreneurs Kyle Denning and Dan Kuipers.
MAREC is currently the largest solar generator in Michigan to receive this certification, and one of a few Michigan solar generators taking advantage of the emerging carbon offset market-based incentive.
The amount of energy MAREC generates per month translates into solar renewable energy credits, called S-RECs, for cash, which will go toward offsetting operating costs at MAREC.
“It’s like a commodity — like selling corn — there’s market value that’s been assigned to solar energy generation, which you can take somewhere and sell on the open market,” said Arn Boezaart, director of MAREC. “Public utilities in states like Michigan and Ohio have to comply with each state’s Renewable Portfolio Standards, which require that energy generating facilities supply a certain amount of electricity to the public power grid. If they can’t reach that obligation with their own resources, they can buy solar energy credits, in this case S-RECs, to meet those requirements.”
Boezaart also credited Denning and Kuipers for “carving out a unique and pioneering business niche that will help to build a broader energy marketplace. They are an example of how business innovation can be linked with sustainability principles to generate ’win-win’ benefits.”