River Fork Solar, a Sheridan Township solar farm owned by Ranger Power, has taken a positive step forward with unanimous approval of its Conditional Use Permit (CUP) by both the Sheridan Township Planning Commission and the Sheridan Township Board last week.

 “The success of River Fork Solar is the result of our community-first approach to development,” said Paul Harris, president of Ranger Power. “River Fork Solar will provide clean, renewable energy to Michigan consumers, while creating new jobs in Sheridan Township and contributing to the economic health of Calhoun County and the region.”

River Fork Solar encompasses about 1,800 acres in Sheridan Township and includes more than a half million solar modules equipped with single axis tracker systems.

In September, Ranger Power announced an agreement for Consumers Energy to purchase 100 megawatts of solar power from River Fork Solar. Consumers Energy’s commitment means the utility will purchase about two-thirds of the site’s output for 20 years.

“We are encouraged by the continued community support for River Fork Solar’s project in Calhoun County, which is the first large-scale solar project in Consumers Energy’s Clean Energy Plan,” said Timothy Sparks, vice president of electric grid integration for Consumers Energy. “Consumers Energy along with clean energy developers are committed to working together with our community neighbors to build a cleaner energy future for Michigan.”

 River Fork Solar is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 244,000 tons each year, which is equivalent to the yearly emissions of 77,702 cars. It also is expected to generate a $2.5 million increase in household earnings in Calhoun County and create an estimated 269 jobs during construction, with roughly $16 million in construction dollars being spent in Calhoun County, according to a study by Anderson Economic Group.