Negaunee Township makes use of marijuana tax to put in photo voltaic panels

NEGAUNEE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLUC) – Negaunee Township is putting tax revenue from marijuana dispensaries to a different green use, the township is investing in solar energy.

Peninsula Solar installed 50 solar panels Friday to power the Negaunee Township Hall, it is projected to save the township hall 20% per year on energy bills. Township supervisor Gary Wommer explained the decision to invest in solar energy.

“Nobody wants a power plant in their backyard, nobody wants a tie line going through their yard. We have to bring power in and power gets expensive,” said Wommer.

Township manager Nick Leach said the money put into the project was awarded through the state of Michigan’s excise tax program from marijuana dispensaries.

“It was roughly $56,000 and the total price for the solar came out to about $58,000,” said Leach.

Leach said the energy produced by the panels will be used in the building to run lights and computers.

“We are hooked up the Board of Light and Power system so any excess power that we produce will be pumped back into the grid so it goes farther down the line,” said Leach.

During the winter, credit is awarded for the excess amount of energy produced in the summer.

“The month of June, as well as the surrounding months of late spring and summer, show a significant amount of energy production to make this possible,” said Leach.

Leach said the life span of the panels is 30 years.

“With a projected investment of 16 or 17 years so that leaves a little less than 50 percent of the life span of the panels where we would actually recoup more than we invested into this project,” said Leach.

Wommer said solar energy is the future for the U.P.

“There’s no more coal generation-power has to come from somewhere, so we think this is the best place,” said Wommer

Negaunee Township also wants to install solar panels on its fire hall building.

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