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Posted on Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

DTE Energy official: Decision expected by end of March on proposed $4M Ypsilanti solar array

By Katrease Stafford

A decision about a project to develop a former Ypsilanti landfill into a $4 million solar array site that would produce alternative energy for DTE Energy, will happen before the end of March.

DTE Energy representative Scott Simons said no decision has been made yet, but he expects one to be made "shortly" and by the end of the month.


The solar array would encompass 4.5 acres of the 7-acre property.

Courtesy City of Ypsilanti

More information was not immediately available from DTE officials.

If approved, the site would produce alternative energy for DTE Energy and cover about 4.5 acres of the 7-acre property near Spring Street and just north of the westbound Interstate 94 Huron Street exit.

City officials originally expected to be notified of the project by mid-January, but the notification was pushed back.

The timeline originally stated DTE would notify its "short list" of possible sites by Jan. 18. and would decide soon after. The targeted construction and completion date is Dec. 31, 2013.

Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber said the city is still optimistic it will be one of the chosen projects. Schreiber said he was told a few weeks ago that the city was still in the running to be selected.

"A recent study said the Ypsilanti has a percentage more solar energy being created per capita than Ann Arbor," Schreiber said.

The city received and approved a letter of intent from SunDurance Energy, a company that develops and designs megawatt-scale solar power solutions for commercial, industrial, federal government and utility-scale markets.

The company is seeking to install a 1.3 megawatt solar array on the site. The city would lease the property to the company for $9,778 per acre, or $44,000 a year. A one-time construction payment of $20,000 must be made within 30 days of the execution of the lease.

If this project is chosen by DTE, the company will build it and turn it over to DTE, who would then own the equipment. The project would require a 20-year lease between the city and DTE with the potential to extend for 10 or more additional years.

All of the energy generated at the site would go onto the DTE grid for wide use by its customers.

Schreiber said the project would further Ypsilanti's goal of being an energy conscious city, citing the $250,000 solar energy project the Corner Brewery completed and the installation of panels on city hall.

"A lot of people are interested in this," Schreiber said. "It certainly would be another step in making Ypsilanti a leader in solar energy."

Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for her at or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.



Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 12:46 a.m.

Why is there no discussion of the financial aspects of this plan? Are there large federal subsidies involved? Does DTE expect to make a profit on this project in either the short or long term without large governmental subsidies. If DTE plans to only breakeven on these solar arrays and there are large federal subsidies involved, the whole project is a terrible idea and it smacks of crony capitalism--idea that a company makes money off the government and not a legitimate profit in the marketplace.


Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 11:32 p.m.

This area has been reforested and I hate the idea of cutting down semi-mature trees for a project designed to improve our environment. It's too bad they can't consider the giant asphalt former parking lot, which will never be used as such again, 1/4 mile east of there.

Linda Peck

Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 4:21 p.m.

How about DTE keeping the lights ON as a first step? Then see what is left for the solar power.


Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 2:50 p.m.

DTE put up a "demonstration" installation up against Plymouth Road, a deliberately very visible eyesore with negligible energy output, strictly for PR. The Ypsilanti proposal tests DTE's sincerity in doing something meaningful with solar energy. The scale is sufficient to actually produce usable energy. The site makes sense, useful utilization of a landfill not much good for anything else. Of course, it is out of sight. Is that why it is taking so long for DTE to decide?

dading dont delete me bro

Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 4:20 p.m.



Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 12:49 p.m.

Funny how DTE needs to go through a considered approvement process where the public knows what the heck is going on. Whereas the University of Michigan gets to completely destroy the view shed of a main corridor into Ann Arbor without telling a soul. So disappointing. Solar energy is a wonderful and fantastic idea for the old Pfizer campus. Putting it atop of an aritificial hill mere feet from the main road in such a way the it obscures the view of the building and completely ruins the view shed the landscape planners had developed over several decades on the property? Shameful. I'm glad DTE is putting more consideration into their plans. An old landfill sounds like a much more appropriate location for solar panels.


Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 10:51 a.m.

Putting a solar field on a former landfill is a great idea, much better than butting up against Plymouth Road...

dading dont delete me bro

Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 10:24 a.m.

where will the deer go?

dading dont delete me bro

Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 3:58 p.m.

seriously, there are about a dozen deer on that parcel. i'd be happy to hang a tree stand from emu's digital billboard that blinds you at night.