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      A warm welcome ceremony for the ''SUN''

      Two local businesses are teaming up to give customers a chance to invest in solar energy - and save some money on their bills.

      A ribbon cutting ceremony Friday afternoon officially kicked off the Solar Up North, or SUN, alliance between Cherryland Electric Cooperative and Traverse City Light and Power (TCL&P).

      The ceremony took place at the Phase 1 location - Cherryland Electric - a plus for customers that are unable to put solar panels on their home or business.

      Customers can purchase a solar panel for $470.00. In return, they will receive a credit on their bill each month. The credit is estimated to be about $2.00, but that amount may vary slightly since it's based on the monthly array output (which is based on weather conditions).

      The SUN program will be in place for twenty-five years. If a customer leaves the area before then, a transfer is possible.

      Both Cherryland Electric and TCL&P are excited about this opportunity to go green and have heard great feedback from consumers.

      "They do support it, they do want it," said the General Manager of Cherryland Electric, Tony Anderson. "They support the partnership between the two utilities - I think it's very positive. It's a lot of fun actually."

      7&4 previously spoke with TCL&P's Marketing and Community Relations Coordinator, Jessica Wheaton, who stated, "It does show our support for renewable energy-same with Cherryland. It's a great opportunity for us to offer this great opportunity for our customers. It is the first of it's kind nationally for this type of partnership for this project."

      As of the ribbon cutting ceremony Friday afternoon, about 160 of the 224 panels in Phase 1 of the project have been sold. The goal is to have all of these panels sold by the end of the summer. Phase 2 will then be built on TCL&P land next spring and summer.