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      The ''SUN'' looks to shine bright

      Traverse City Light and Power (TCL&P) and Cherryland Electric Cooperative are teaming up to provide a new program that will allow customers to invest in solar energy.

      Called the Solar Up North (SUN) Alliance, the program enables customers to purchase a solar panel for $470.00. In return, customers will receive a credit on their bill each month. The credit is estimated to be about $2.00, but that amount may slightly change since it's based on the monthly array output (which is based on weather conditions).

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

      Phase 1 of the project is a set of 224 panels at Cherryland Electric - another plus for customers that aren't able to put solar panels on their home or business.

      "It does show our support for renewable energy-same with Cherryland," said Jessica Wheaton, the Marketing and Community Relations Coordinator at TCL&P. "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."

      TCL&P and Cherryland are hoping the first phase sells out. Phase 2 will then be built on TCLP land next spring and summer.

      There will be an informational meeting Thursday, May 23rd, at TCL&P's office on Hastings Street in Traverse City. Customers can learn more about the project, benefits vs cost, speak with contractors, and sign up to join the SUN Alliance.

      If you're unable to make it to the meeting, there is more information on the TCL&P website, or you can contact Jessica Wheaton at TCL&P.

      June 7th at 2pm at Cherryland Electric Coop in Grawn will be the SUN Alliance ribbon cutting ceremony, to which the community is invited.