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St Louis Correctional Facility to become Michigan’s first green prison

Steve Rainwater|

The Michigan Department of Corrections is looking to turn a Gratiot county correctional facility into the state’s first green prison.

As part of Governor Whitmer’s state-wide plan to increase sustainable practices across state offices, the St. Louis Correctional Facility plans to install solar panels. 


The facility houses 1,100 prisoners. Officials said currently its yearly energy bills sits at $1.5 million.


Department of Corrections spokesperson, Chris Gautz, said the switch is a green initiative and a cost saving initiative. 


“We expect that we are going to be saving, upwards of $500,000 to $700,000 a year off of our current energy bills going forward.” 


Gautz said solar-switch is expected to cost more than seven million dollars. 


After the panels are paid off, Gautz said the state will save $700,000 annually, money the state plans to reinvest into other prison projects.


“But we can take that money we will be saving from the larger projects and fund these other ventures at some of the other prisons and it just keeps repeating itself and growing and growing.”


Gautz said the St Louis facility will have solar panels installed and running within the next two years.