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City of Saginaw Fires Up Rooftop Solar Array

SAGINAW -- The city of Saginaw has installed a 20-kilowatt solar array on the roof of its public services building.

Consumers Energy selected Saginaw to participate in its Experimental Advanced Renewable Program. The program ensures that Consumers Energy will purchase energy generated by Saginaw's 96 panels for up to 15 years.

In a competitive bidding process, the City of Saginaw was able to install OPTimus panels powered with Suniva cells, utilizing polycrystalline silicon from Hemlock Semiconductor for its 20 kilowatt array.

"The energy produced by the solar energy system is expected to equal up to 10 percent of the building's total current energy use," said Saginaw City Manager Darnell Earley. "In the process we are supporting regional companies that develop key products and services."

A smaller 4 kilowatt educational display unit will also be installed adjacent to Saginaw City Hall with a new tracker system from SunSteer, which was developed at Nexteer Automotive's world headquarters in Saginaw.

"The team at Nexteer relied on our industry leading automotive technologies to develop a product for the renewable energy market that accurately positions solar arrays to follow the sun," said Vince De Zorzi, senior vice president and chief operations officer at Nexteer. "SunSteer™ is built right here in the U.S., with more than 90 percent U.S. content and greater than 50 percent of its content produced in Michigan, including the Great Lakes Bay Region."

The Great Lakes Bay Region is boundless opportunities for solar supply chain development with anchor companies such as Hemlock Semiconductor, which is the source of a third of the world's polycrystalline silicon, and global headquarters and multiple manufacturing facilities for Dow Corning and The Dow Chemical Co.

To provide an environment for advanced collaboration and spur supply chain innovation, the Great Lakes Tech Park was developed less than a mile from Hemlock Semiconductor.

"The 231-acre Tech Park has large free parcels available for the appropriate project and are shovel ready with new infrastructure," said Saginaw Future Inc. president JoAnn Crary.

Saginaw Future partnered with Thomas Township, County of Saginaw and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to develop the Great Lakes Tech Park. SFI is administering a $100,000 loan from the County of Saginaw to fund a portion of the City of Saginaw's solar array project.

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