After demolition of the Midwest Foundry in 1990, the site has sat barren for 27 years and has not been used for any new developments. CBPU leadership had the vision to turn the unused land into a useful space. The area was graded and leveled, which led to the design and construction of the Coldwater Solar Field Park. This project presented a unique opportunity for Coldwater to turn a Brownfield site into a Brightfield site. CBPU is very proud of this project and continues their mission to protect the environment and the investments of their citizens.
“I want to thank everyone who worked hard and allowed us to be here today to dedicate this solar field. The brownfield site turned solar farm has already improved the neighborhood and will provide renewable energy for many years to come,” Coldwater Mayor Tom Kramer said. “I am glad to be able to contribute to increased clean energy and I am glad to see this project contribute in cleaning up the neighborhood.”
After making it through the many legalities of utilizing the site, it had to be cleaned up, the ground balanced and new fencing erected. Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources LLC installed the farm under a contract with American Municipal Power of which Coldwater and MSCPA are members.
“We were founded under a vision and in a time and industry that is now transitioning. I look at that site and where we are as an industry and we have some commonalities: a strong foundation,” said Paul Beckhusen, General Manager of Michigan South Central Power Agency. “We are utilizing that property and bringing something to the community that will be very viable.”
Marc Gerken, President & CEO of American Municipal Power who spoke at the open house said, “Solar energy is very cost effective, solar energy is free. You are looking at a state of the art, clean energy project. You took a brownfield site in the middle of town and turned it into something quite beautiful, and you don’t usually see that. You made lemonade out of lemons here."
State Senator Mike Shirkey, who was also in attendance at the event, has had a solar field at his home since 2011. "The people of Coldwater are on the leading edge of maximizing the sites value. Every horizontal surface and half of every vertical surface, within 20 years, will be producing energy,” Shirkey said. “In one hour a day the sun projects, on the surface of the earth, more energy than the entire world uses in a year. We just haven’t figured out how to harvest it yet. Solar is the way to do it.”
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