Chelsea State Bank Partners with Utopian Power, Northshore Energy To Finance Solar Power in Michigan State Parks

CHELSEA – Chelsea State Bank is pleased to announce its partnership with South Lyon-based Utopian Power, LLC and Southfield-based Northshore Energy, Inc., to finance multiple projects that supply clean solar power for seven State of Michigan, Department of Natural Resources (DNR), parks and facilities.

With a commitment to cleaner air, the State of Michigan DNR executed an agreement with Utopian Power to construct nearly one megawatt of solar capacity to supply output to different locations among seven state parks in Southwest Michigan. The cost of this project is $3 million, of which Chelsea State Bank financed.

“Chelsea State Bank is extremely pleased to help finance this Michigan project,” said Chelsea State Bank President and Chief Executive Officer Joanne Rau. “As climate change becomes more critical today, we took this step to help supply clean energy to benefit the citizens of the State of Michigan. This is a unique opportunity for CSB.  We worked with Michigan companies, their local suppliers and primarily Michigan investors for this to come together.  We look forward to exploring other such projects in the future.”

The solar systems are both roof and ground mounted within state-owned parks and facilities. The State will now operate these facilities primarily on the energy provided from the solar arrays. It is estimated the State will save $1,400,000 over 25 years while reducing its carbon footprint.  Over the lifetime of the project, CO2 emissions are expected to be reduced by approximately 8,360 tons or the equivalent to the carbon sequestration of 9,290 acres of forest growing annually in Michigan.

Michigan-based Utopian responded to a Request for Proposal (RFP) from the State of Michigan and was awarded the contract. Utopian is a licensed general contractor and procured the material and services for installation.

“North Shore Energy provided key expertise in project structuring, financing and ownership aspects.  The owners of Utopian and Northshore all have deep personal ties to Michigan and collectively are proud to deliver this project,” said Forrest Cohn, Founder and President of Utopian Power. “These systems will also provide educational opportunities for visitors to the parks. The project is a great start to bringing more on-site generation of clean energy to state parks in Michigan. We were pleased when Chelsea State Bank agreed to finance the project. This is a tremendous opportunity for everyone involved and makes great environmental and economic sense for the State of Michigan.”

Individual projects that were completed in 2021 in the southwest region include:

  • DNR Customer Service Center, Plainwell, Allegan County
  • Fort Custer Recreation Area, Kalamazoo County – Headquarters building
  • Holland State Park, Ottawa County – Lake Macatawa campground
  • Ionia State Recreation Area, Ionia County – Headquarters building, campgrounds and cabin rentals
  • J. Hoffmaster State Park, Muskegon County – Headquarters building
  • Yankee Springs, Barry County – Headquarters building

Projects that are scheduled for completion in 2022 include:

  • Muskegon State Park, Muskegon County – Headquarters building, cold-storage building and Muskegon Channel campgrounds
  • Yankee Springs Recreation Area, Barry County – Southern campgrounds
  • Fort Custer Recreation Area, Kalamazoo County – East and West campgrounds
  • Holland State Park, Ottawa County – Holland Beach building/campground
  • J. Hoffmaster State Park, Muskegon County – Campgrounds

 “As a Michigan community bank, building relationships to help better our communities is always a priority for Chelsea State Bank,” said Rau. “We are honored to partner with these great Michigan companies to improve communities within the state and make it a healthier place for all to thrive.”

About Utopian Power

Founded in the beautiful state of Michigan, Utopian Power is committed to providing environmentally responsible renewable energy options to meet the electrical demands of our nation. Utopian Power is a results-oriented business at the forefront of clean energy. Utopian Power’s mission is to accelerate renewable energy development by providing responsible energy options to communities around the world, be they individuals, businesses, cities, regions, or the world. For more information see

About the Michigan DNR

The Michigan DNR is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. We strive to protect natural and cultural resources, ensure sustainable recreation use and enjoyment, enable strong natural resource-based economies, improve and build strong relationships and partnerships, and foster effective business practices and good governance. For more information on the solar project agreement see,4570,7-350-79137_79770_79780-568881–y_2021,00.html. 

About Chelsea State Bank

Chelsea State Bank is a full-service financial institution with offices in Chelsea and Dexter. The Bank was formed 125 years ago by local business leaders to provide timely financial solutions to individuals, families and businesses in the community. This tradition of community service continues today.  For more information, please call 734.475.1355 or visit  Member FDIC.

About Northshore Energy

Northshore and its affiliates have been operating in various segments of the energy industry for almost 30 years.  They have owned, developed or financed both renewable and hydrocarbon projects in California, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan and numerous other states.