City Awarded $1,685,479 Grant for Solar & Battery Storage Project

June 8, 2023

City Awarded MPSC $1,685,479 Grant
Solar & Battery Storage Project Planned

The City of Traverse City has been awarded a Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) Low Carbon Infrastructure Enhancement & Development Grant in the amount of $1,685,479. City staff worked with Jacobs and Traverse City Light & Power to draft and submit the application in January 2023 for a solar and battery storage project.

In December 2022, the City Commission approved the preparation of a grant application in the amount up to $2 million to the Michigan Public Service Commission Low Carbon Energy Infrastructure Enhancement and Development Grant for possible funding to purchase and install a solar system with battery storage. The intent is to install solar arrays on the rooftops of the Traverse City Wastewater Treatment Plant buildings. Battery storage, or battery energy storage systems (BESS), are devices that enable energy from renewables, such as solar, to be stored and then released when the power is needed most and are becoming essential in expediting the replacement of fossil fuels with renewable energy.

“We are excited to have been awarded this significant grant toward this solar project and incorporate the use of battery storage for clean and green energy. The utilization of a City property such as the Wastewater Treatment Plant is a perfect way to continue our renewable energy goals,” stated Art Krueger, Municipal Utilities Director. “I want to commend staff at the City, TCLP, and Jacobs for their quick turnaround on this extensive grant application to meet the deadline and finding success.”

The Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) uses approximately 5,048 MWh of electricity annually, based on an analysis of monthly electric bills. The total cost is about $411,525 for a unit cost of $0.082/kWh. The solar PV plant would produce about 510MWh per year of electricity, about 10% of the WWTP annual consumption. This solar project would reduce the WWTP’s electricity costs by approximately $41,000 each year. Over a 25-year lifespan, this project would save the City at least $1.025 million in operations costs. The project is anticipated to reduce annual CO2e Emissions by 300 metric tons per year.

“What an inspiring opportunity to apply and observe the performance of clean innovative strategies and technologies for our community, region, and State,” said Traverse City Light & Power Executive Director Brandie Ekren. “Pairing energy storage with renewable generation will allow us to receive the benefit of solar energy when the sun is not shining. We look forward to our continued partnership with the City of Traverse City on their clean energy journey.”

The City Commission’s 2022 adopted Goals and Objectives identified climate as a strategic priority with a goal to address climate within all of our City priorities, goals, policies, and actions. In addition, Traverse City Light & Power is developing a Climate Action Plan.

The total project budget is $1,921,245. The City will need to identify $235,765 of the additional funds needed in the future.