(CBS DETROIT) – Consumers EnergyPine Gate Renewables and Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, L.P., announced five new solar energy projects in Genesee County and three in Saginaw County are now online and providing clean, renewable electricity for Consumers Energy customers.

“These solar plants coming online are a testament to our commitment to solar energy in Michigan as a major component of the Clean Energy Plan, our blueprint for a coal-free and carbon-neutral future,” said Tim Sparks, vice president of electric grid integration at Consumers Energy. “We thank Pine Gate Renewables for shared beliefs in protecting our planet and for their expertise building the vital clean energy infrastructure.”

The eight sites were built and are operated by Pine Gate Renewables and are owned by Kayne Anderson. Consumers Energy has 20-year agreements to purchase the energy from the projects. Each solar farm has a 2-megawatt capacity.

Combined, the solar farms produce up to 16 megawatts, adding to Consumers Energy’s 10-megawatts of solar energy capacity previously available to serve its customers.

The names of the local solar projects that began operations in the last five weeks are Captain Solar, Interchange Solar, Jack Francis SolarMay Shannon Solar and Coldwater Solar in Genesee County, and Geddes 1 Solar, Geddes 2 Solar and Stoneheart Solar in Saginaw County.

“We’re excited to be a part of developing renewable energy in Michigan,” said Pine Gate Renewables CEO Ben Catt. “Each solar project provides tax revenue, jobs and clean energy to the local communities.”

Consumers Energy’s Clean Energy Plan calls for eliminating coal as an energy source, achieving net-zero carbon emissions and meeting 90% of customers’ energy needs through clean sources like renewable energy, energy waste reduction and energy storage.

Consumers Energy has agreements to purchase energy from six additional Kayne Anderson solar projects elsewhere in Michigan which are scheduled to begin operating this month.

These initial eight projects include 56,313 solar panels and have employed approximately 240 local workers through construction.

“Becoming a leader in solar energy has been an important focus of Kayne Anderson over the last several years,” said Jon Levinson, co-head of renewables at Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors. “We are very pleased to have brought this initial wave of projects to completion in Michigan, and we are very excited about the continued build-out of our solar footprint over the next several years.”

“We are pleased to do our part to support sustainable, renewable energy as we welcome these solar projects to Genesee County,” said Bryant NoldenGenesee County commissioner. “It was a pleasure to work with Pine Gate Renewables and Kayne Anderson to help develop these low-impact development projects. Our air quality will be improved as a result of shifting to clean power and the expanded tax base these projects provide locally will benefit our communities well into the future.”

SOURCE Consumers Energy

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