Nexteer using 25-acre solar farm to power plant – WNEM

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BUENA VISTA TWP., Mich. (WNEM) – Nexteer Automotive is using solar power to help keep the lights on at its plant in Buena Vista Township.

“Time will tell. We just want to make sure that it continues to produce,” said Steve Baird, the general manager with Nexteer.

The switch has been flipped on for Nexteer’s solar farm in Buena Vista Township, and 17,000 panels have been installed over 25 acres at the Nexteer site.

The farm is expected to generate 9.95 megawatts of electricity, enough to power nearly 2,000 homes a day. In this case, however, the goal is to help power Nexteer as the state continues its move toward renewable energy.

“You know, the grid’s becoming compromised as they shut down these fossil fuel plants. This will allow us to make sure that we always have the required electricity we need to generate products for our customers,” Baird said.

Planning for the farm began three and a half years ago. Baird said the panels will help remove a good amount of greenhouse gas emissions from the air.

“It’s been a real win for us,” he said. “It’s going to reduce our greenhouse emissions by about 7,100 tons per year.”

Since the farm became operational last week, Baird said the solar panels have gone above expected production levels.

“It has hit every objective that we’ve had. It has met the goals for production. I mean it’s really been a win for us,” he said.

Nexteer using 25-acre solar farm to power plant(WNEM)

The solar farm is muddy and rocky at the moment, but Baird said Nexteer plans on planting wildflowers throughout the field as a pollination stop for bees.

“This is a great start. You know and we’ve been talking that you know it depends on how effective this is, and so far, it’s been extremely effective. We may look at growing the field down into the field to the south of us here,” he said.

Baird, reflecting on the work it’s taken for Nexteer to get to this point, said he hopes the community sees the move as assurance that Nexteer will be in the community for years to come.

“I think that really states to the community that Nexteer Saginaw is here and here to stay,” he said.

Nexteer shared that the creation of the solar farm is a move towards having more renewable energy sources within the company and having a sustainable supply chain.

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