Burns & McDonnell has broken ground on a new 297 MWdc (250MWac) solar facility for Consumers Energy, the utility’s first large-scale solar project.

Located across 1,900 acres, the Muskegon Solar Energy Center is expected to be completed in 2026. The project is a key part of Consumers Energy‘s plan to add 8 gigawatts of utility-scale solar power by 2040.

“Consumers Energy has some of the most ambitious clean energy goals in the nation and advancing projects like this put us on a clear path to achieving them,” said David Hicks, vice president of clean energy development for Consumers Energy. “Every project we bring online helps lower bills for our customers in the long term while also providing significant tax revenue for the community and better serving our planet. That’s a win for everyone, and we’re proud to be partnering with Burns & McDonnell to see this project come to fruition.”

“We are excited to work with local trades and union halls across Michigan to build out solar within the state,” said Drew Powers, construction project manager at Burns & McDonnell. “This project not only helps Consumers Energy advance in renewable energy but also supports the local economy.”

“We are excited to help build out solar and drive the low cost of energy and renewable penetration into the great state of Michigan,” added Scott Newland, senior vice president of infrastructure at Burns & McDonnell.

Burns & McDonnell is using an integrated engineer-procure-construct (EPC) approach on the project. The integrated EPC scope of the firm also includes site permitting, substation construction, and the interconnection generation tie. The Burns & McDonnell team consists of the firm’s union self-perform construction arm, AZCO, working closely with local and other Michigan-based union labor.

Some key components of the project include First Solar Series 7 modulesArray Technology trackers, Siemens Gamesa inverters, and Shoals Technologies Group and CAB Solar Cable Management tools.

Last year, Michigan passed a law limiting the ability of local governments to block solar and wind projects. Opponents under the name “Citizens for Local Choice” responded by launching a campaign to put a referendum on the ballot that would repeal the law, but last week they ran out of time to gather enough signatures. The organization said they will continue their campaign, working to secure placement on the 2026 ballot.

In the meantime, renewable energy projects are taking root across the Great Lakes state.

This week, DTE Energy announced it will convert a portion of its retired Trenton Channel coal power plant site to house a 220-MW battery energy storage center. When completed in 2026, the energy storage center is expected to be the largest standalone battery energy storage project in the Great Lakes region.

DTE Energy is currently seeking proposals for renewable energy projects totaling approximately 1,075 MW and 120 MW in battery energy storage projects to support DTE Electric’s CleanVision Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), the company’s MIGreenPower program, and Michigan’s new renewable energy standard of 60% by 2030.

Originally published by Paul Gerke on Renewable Energy World.

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