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Michigan State UniversityMichigan State UniversityInfrastructure Planning and Facilities
Solar array rendering

Solar Carports (Electrical distribution - renewable energy)

Project phase: Archived

Project background

  • Solutions are needed to address the increased demands created by campus growth, the addition of the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams and other research and academic endeavors, and to maintain the reliability and cost-effectiveness of MSU's power supply.
  • These tasks also must to be accomplished in a manner that achieves the goals of the Energy Transition Plan.
  • Thus far, the planning has resulted in projects to upgrade the electric substation and transmission lines on campus and to install an additional pipeline to deliver gas to the T.B. Simon Power Plant, and the announcement in April 2015 that MSU would cease to burn coal in the Power Plant by the end of 2016.
  • Much progress has been made, but the grand goals set by the university and the Energy Transition Plan require diligence and creativity.

Project details

  • This project will provide financial benefits to MSU by allowing MSU to purchase power at a fixed price over the next 25 years.
  • The project will also significantly advance the Energy Transition Plan's goals of improving the environment, investing in sustainable energy research and development, and positioning MSU as a leader in the realm of sustainable energy.

Project scope

  • The university has entered into a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Inovateus Solar for renewable energy that would be generated from the construction of large scale solar array carports over five parking lots:
    • Lot 83 (Service Road east of University Services)
    • Lot 89 (Commuter Lot at Farm Lane and Mt. Hope Road)
    • Lot 91 (Service and Hagadorn Roads)
    • Lot 92 (Service Road north of the Clinical Center)
    • Lot 100 (Service Road east of Radiology)
  • MSU will connect the electrical output of the solar arrays to the MSU electrical grid.


  • Designated parking lots will experience reduced availability as a result of temporary pre-notified vehicle relocation.
  • No parking places will be eliminated.
  • The construction schedule is being coordinated to minimize interference during the 2017-18 football season and home tailgates.
  • Once complete, carports will provide vehicles with partial protection from weather.


  • Construction start: March 2017
  • Construction complete: December 2017


  • The budget for the connections to the MSU electrical grid fo rthe project is $2,500,000, which is being funded by the utility reserve. The solar power developer (Inovateus) will incur all costs of construction of the array, with cost recovery through the utility purchase price.

Questions, comments, concerns?


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Interactive detour map with current closure information for motorists and pedestrians.