Consumers Energy celebrates new solar power plant in Cadillac, Michigan

Cadillac Solar Gardens is third plant in solar gardens program

Photo of Angela Mulka

A new solar energy plant, Cadillac Solar Gardens, marks Consumer Energy’s third solar plant in Michigan. The plant will generate nearly half a megawatt of electricity, enough to power as many as 100 homes at a time, according to the company.

A dedication event today follows Consumers Energy’s announcement of its updated Clean Energy Plan last month, which will eliminate coal use by 2025, use nearly 8,000 megawatts of solar energy, achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040 and save customers $650 million through 2040.

“It’s definitely an expedited timeline, but it’s something that we’re proud of as we try to lead the clean energy transformation in Michigan and really across the country,” said Josh Paciorek, the West Michigan media spokesperson for Consumers Energy.

Through a collaborative effort with the City of Cadillac, the State of Michigan and Consumers Energy, the solar gardens span nearly three acres and include 1,752 solar panels and a battery storage system.

Cadillac Solar Gardens


Cadillac Solar Gardens
557 Fifth Street
Cadillac, MI 49601

“This project marries two of Michigan EGLE’s important strategies,” said Liesl Clark, director of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE). “It puts a formerly vacant, contaminated property back into productive use and onto local tax rolls, improves air quality and moves Michigan closer to meeting Governor Whitmer’s MI Healthy Climate plan goal of statewide carbon neutrality by 2050.”

In addition, Consumers Energy operates solar power plants at Grand Valley State University and Western Michigan University. Those two locations generate enough power to serve more than 800 homes at a time.

The three solar locations are part of the Solar Gardens community program

“The Solar Gardens program allows for Consumers Energy customers to enroll for as little as $10 a month. What we do with that funding is we invest it back in solar energy to build more solar energy, purchase more solar power,” Paciorek said. “In return, customers that are part of the program receive bill credits based on how much solar energy we were able to produce.”

Further, Cadillac Solar Gardens is the company’s first "brownfield to brightfield" site with a manufacturing history that dates to the late 1800s, according to Paciorek. Before the creation of the solar power plant, the area was vacant for more than 30 years as a contaminated brownfield site.

“Today marks a major milestone for the city of Cadillac and the entire state as we celebrate the dedication of Consumers Energy’s Cadillac Solar Gardens,” said Carla Filkins, the mayor of Cadillac. “We’ve come together to turn a blighted brownfield property into a site that will play a key role in Michigan’s clean energy transformation and help better protect our environment for generations to come.”

Michigan’s latitude and climate allow for excellent solar production, according to Michigan’s Solar Solution website. And, the solar laws in Michigan benefit solar owners, enabling solar to make good sense.

Beyond the environmental benefits and lower electric bills, it turns out installing solar panels on your house actually benefits your whole community, according to a study done by researchers at Michigan Technological University. Value estimations for grid-tied photovoltaic systems prove solar panels are beneficial for utility companies and consumers alike.

“Anyone who puts up solar is being a great citizen for their neighbors and for their local utility,” said Joshua Pearce, author of the study and professor of electrical and computer engineering at Michigan Technological University. “Customers with solar distributed generation are making it so utility companies don’t have to make as many infrastructure investments, while at the same time solar shaves down peak demands when electricity is the most expensive.”

Solar technology has really evolved over the past several years and continues to evolve, which is why Consumers Energy plans on it being such a big part of the generating portfolio in coming decades, according Paciorek.

Visit to learn more about the Clean Energy Plan. Consumers Energy is the state’s largest energy provider, providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.8 million of Michigan’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties, according to the company. 

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