A series of solar panel installations in Michigan will create what will be the first ‘green’ prison, state park, and fish hatchery.
As the Governor pushes to reduce carbon pollution and make Michigan more environmentally friendly, the newest programs will push the state government to ‘lead by example’ to encourage reduced electricity consumption from rural farms to urban areas.
St. Louis prison in Gratiot county is planning to invest $7.4 million over 15 years to install solar panels, energy-efficient lighting, electronic water controls, and systems that use rainwater for non-drinking water consumption, such as toilet flushing. The state would expect to pay $8.6 million for electricity in the same time span, producing a savings of $1.2 million, if the project stays on track and within budget.
In Holly, the Department of Natural Resources aims to incorporate renewable energy sources into Seven Lakes State Park, where hundreds of thousands of campers, boaters, hikers, hunters, and fishers visit each year to enjoy Michigan’s beautiful outdoors. The department’s goal is to completely offset the parks’ electrical use with solar panels on both rooftops and within the parking lot.
According to a recent energy audit, Michigan’s six fish hatcheries combined account for 15% of the Department of Natural Resources’ total energy use. Oden State Fish Hatchery in Alanson used an average of 1.5 million kilowatt-hours of energy over the past five years. In comparison, the average residential family in the United States used about 10,000 kilowatt-hours of energy, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration in 2017.
In addition to multiple renewable energy projects taking place in Michigan’s state parks, the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget is expanding their efforts to many other government buildings across the state. These updates will include LED and motion-sensing lighting, which have already cut energy consumption 10% in 41 buildings directly managed by the department and save the state $6 million in costs.