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Posted on Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

DTE Energy: Proposed $4M Ypsilanti solar array project moving onto final selection round

By Katrease Stafford

The city of Ypsilanti has received word from DTE Energy that the proposed $4 million solar array project on a former landfill is moving on to the final round.

DTE is asking the city to approve a lease and agreement for the project in advance of DTE's final selection.


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

Courtesy city of Ypsilanti

On Dec. 4, the Ypsilanti City Council approved a letter of intent with SunDurance Energy for the development of a solar array on the city’s former landfill as part of a request for proposals issued by DTE for sites and solar power generating systems.

DTE's initial request for proposals indicated that developers of the project should select sites that have high visibility and be within the DTE service area, with an emphasis on locations in Detroit.

Proposals will be compared to each other for final selection based on various factors including location and price.

According to an information packet written by City Planner Teresa Gillotti, SunDurance has been refining its proposal based on feedback from DTE. The initial proposal submitted was for a 1.3 MW installation, but DTE has indicated to SunDurance that they are interested in a smaller installation on the site of around 750 kW.

SunDurance asked Ypsilanti to approve two different sized installations as options DTE can consider in weighing the proposal. Both options are included in the attached easement and lease agreement with slightly varying rental rates.

The options are as follows:

  • A 750 kW system to be located west of existing access road. If this were to be chosen, the annual payment to the city would be $40,000/
  • A 1000 kW system located on both sides of existing access road. If this were to be chosen, the annual payment to the city would be $44,000.

The proposed project would cover about 4.5 acres of the 7-acre property near Spring Street and just north of the westbound Interstate 94 Huron Street exit.

A one-time construction payment of $20,000 must be made within 30 days of the execution of the lease. A large digital billboard is currently on the property and the city receives $35,000 per year for that lease.

As per the terms of the letter of intent, the city received $2,000 from SunDurance for continuing to hold the property for the potential development.

The proposed array will be a ground-mounted, fixed-tilt system, requiring minimal or no penetration of the surface of the site.

If the proposal is selected, SunDurance would then submit site plans and a Planned Unit Development application for approval with the city. The PUD process would first go to planning commission for a recommendation and then to city council for a public hearing and approval.

Gillotti noted that DTE is interested in a project going into service by the end of the calendar year.

City ownership of the former landfill occurred prior to 1949 and the estimated closure date of the landfill is between 1957 and 1967. A formal sealing or capping of the landfill was not completed when it closed and the property is known to have environmental contamination, although it is not known to what extent.

Initial testing was undertaken by the Traverse Group in 1998.

Since the letter of intent was adopted by the city, two grants have been received from the Downriver Community Conference as part of the city's membership in the Washtenaw County Brownfield Redevelopment, Gillotti wrote.

The first grant covered costs of a Phase I environmental assessment and the second grant, under way now, will involve sampling of the landfill site, and should provide information regarding the extent of the landfill area, as well as a more detailed picture of existing contaminants on-site.

The city will consider the lease and easement at its April 9 meeting at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall.

Mayor Paul Schreiber said the project has been well-received by the public.

"The project has gotten positive responses all the way around," Schreiber. "It would be another project that puts Ypsilanti on the solar power map."

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



Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 3:02 p.m.

I have no problem with Ypsilanti leasing land to an ill conceived Granholm era laughing stock "solar farm". To their credit, they are capitalizing on incompetent previous era government decisions made by a governor who fooled voters into supporting one of her disastrous artificial market jobs schemes. Now Michigan tax and utility payers are the victims but sure, why not make a few bucks. The real problem is that solar panels are a socialist style artificial market constructed by lobbyists and political incompetents on both sides, but primarily democrats. There is no need for solar panels and the market for them will collapse as the artificial economy withdrawals under the weight of massive debt to the communist Chinese. Then a few decades from now this acreage will be a monument to morons as the panels fail. Most of those writing in support of them are stuffing their pockets with eco cash borrowed from China – so sure, they're all for it and fudging the truth is the least of their problems. The electric power of the future is plentiful, inexpensive coal power generated in other states or countries. The notion that somehow the power source we use to heat our homes or businesses controls the planet's weather is a lie. Regardless of how many "believe" it, does not change the lie. Those promoting the lie need to be ignored, fired, voted out of office and/or otherwise relieved from any relevant position in this society. ….that's the starting point. Beware of prophets seeking profits.


Mon, Apr 8, 2013 : 1:42 p.m.

Shephard145, whether you choose to believe it or not, USA has leading tecnology and manufacturing capability in PV Solar. Large utility scale installations on Southwest are already at parity with more traditional Nuclear plants. Coal and Nuclear plants take 10 years to build from planning through construction, the equivalent PV Solar plant takes 4, has no moving parts, very little maintenance and is emissions free. Distributed rooftop solar is approaching retail parity on pricing. My system will meet half my annual electric demand and pay for itself in 8 years after which it will start making me money. And the technology has not even reached it full capabilities yet. The US needs to invest in this, its a job creator and its our future. Dont be caught on the wrong side of history.


Mon, Apr 8, 2013 : 1:59 a.m.

If coal is so inexpensive and plentiful, why aren't you still burning it in your basement to heat your house? Problems with soot, perhaps? A desire not to contract black lung disease, also known as Coal workers' Pneumoconiosis? The idea that spewing millions of tons of particulates into the atmosphere per year is a totally benign activity is beyond absurd.


Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 5:49 p.m.

... he said from his underground bunker.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 10:08 p.m.

Let's be clear. DTE makes hundreds of millions from coal. They are only supporting solar because we have a renewable energy standard that mandates 10% renewable be 2015. They lobbied against the 2008 law because they want profits from coal. They don't care if their River Rouge coal plant contributes to early death of hundreds of people every year. This monopoly cares about profits and bonuses for their executives. Letting children with asthma gasp for breath while they greedily spend their bonuses at the country club.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 12:39 a.m.

No offense, Croused, but if you ar really an ex-executive of DTE you would know that the unregulated side ofvDTE makes billions from coal, including supplying the regulated, monopoly DTE. DTE should be forced to divest their unregulated businesses. They should lose their monopoly status because they have abused it and will continue to do so. BTW, as an ex-executive, do you feel remorse for children with asthma dying because of DTE poisoning the air?


Mon, Apr 8, 2013 : 1:37 p.m.

Solitude and NoSUVforMe - we live in a capitalist society - companies invest in things that make money. If rate payers were willing to pay the difference between what it costs to get your electricity from coal vs. current pricing for renewables, DTE would oblige (in fact they have this program in place right now). Sadly, most ratepayers want the cheapest power possible regardless of the environmental or health impacts. I encourage both of you to sign up for the DTE green rate program and join me in investing in roof top PV solar. You can also ween off oil by switching to a PEV (plug in electric vehicle).


Mon, Apr 8, 2013 : 1:52 a.m.

Croused, DTE "invests in any project that makes money", at the expense of spending it on anything that might actually improve service delivery unless they are forced by either litigation or statute. There's not a chance in he** that DTE would invest a single dime in solar power if it were not mandated by law. I hope I live to see the day when for-profit public utilities are outlawed and DTE is no more.


Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 2:21 a.m.

Really? Are you suggesting that the executives of DTE will end coal revenues for clean energy? No evidenced that Anderson and his cronies care about nothing but supporting the coal business. How does a DTE executive sleep knowing that children with asthma are dying?


Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 1:47 a.m.

DTE actually invests in any project that makes money (Im a former executive). If the public chooses to support renewables and the politicians get behind it then DTE will fall in line. Its up to us to show that we want it. Michigan has some of the best wind resource in the country around the coast perimeter but NIMBY neighbors prevent it from being developed. Republicans have chosen to make PV Solar the poster child for the evils of government subsidies while China, India and Germany have no qualms and will take over in the innovation of what will become the future power source of choice.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 7:23 p.m.

"DTE's initial request for proposals indicated that developers of the project should select sites that have high visibility..." In other words, DTE wants as many people as possible to see that it is pretending to be interested in solar energy. Its true lack of interest in generating solar energy is clear from its request that the Ypsi proposal be downsized.


Mon, Apr 8, 2013 : 2:06 a.m.

Demistify, you are exactly correct. DTE wants a few solar arrays visibly from high-traffic routes to distract people's attention from the millions it is spending behind the scenes to buy off politicians and lobby against clean air, clean water and alternative energy legislation. The extremely well-funded campaign from this last fall, regarding the proposed constitutional amendment concerning alternative energy, is a prime example. Why would DTE ask for the proposed Ypsi project to be downsized if they were actually interested in maximizing solar use?


Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 1:43 a.m.

visibility in this respect means showing that it can be cost competitive and make good use of land that is otherwise unusable. Not sure what you have read recently but PV Solar is taking off. You'd be well to invest and take advantage of some of the incentives that still exist. As soon as PV Solar reaches parity the incentives will fall away.

Ben Petiprin

Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 6:24 p.m.

I find myself caring less and less about this every time they mention it. At this point I think it's clear that there will be no jobs created by it. Solar energy makes sense for the future but just having an array doesn't strike me as anything to pat oneself on the back about. If that's the way things are headed, then having an array is no more spectacular than having an electrical station. It means nothing. The whole affair seems to stem from the fashionable desire to do something slightly before everyone else does. Almost like knowing about a band before they get popular. What we should be doing is angling to manufacture the solar panels. Then we'd actually have a foothold in a new industry, rather than just being the first to get something everybody else will eventually have (hopefully).


Mon, Apr 8, 2013 : 1:58 p.m.

Ben, read the story on Suneva..."we" are manufacturing panels. We should subsidize more than we do oil and gas and as much as China, India, and Germany if we want to stay ahead of the technology development. You should care about these installations. We are getting closer to meeting the renewable portfolio standard goal that the state has set. We need to ween ourselves from fossil fuels and oil if only for the long term cost stability and supply availability (even if you dont buy into the environmental and health benefits).


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 6:20 p.m.

This installation is definitely a good ghing. But before we start congratulating DTE, keep in mind that they are doing only what is required by law. The 2008 Clean, Renewable and Efficient Energy Act requires Michigan electric providers to derive 10% of their energy from renewable sources by 2015. When DTE starts making progress beyond the minimum required by law, that's when I will start cheering.

Stan Hyne

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 1:47 p.m.

It is good to note that someone remembers that DTE is required by law to install renewable energy. To make it really practical the required renewable energy equipment should be non taxable. Because DTE pays property taxes on all their equipment, the taxes make renewables less competitive.


Mon, Apr 8, 2013 : 1:31 p.m.

Solitude - 5.6kW system installs for $4/W or about $22K for me. Fed credits gets me back $6K, DTE gets me back $1K up front and $300/yr for 16 years. My payback will be 8-10 years.


Mon, Apr 8, 2013 : 2:13 a.m.

Croused, how much is your rooftop system going to end up costing you for materials and labor? I'd love to be able to power our house with solar.


Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 1:41 a.m.

LarryJ, still DTE has put some very good commercial and residential incentives in place to promote PV Solar. Im about to install my 5.6kW rooftop system that will supply 50% of my annual load. Payback 8 years - after that, my roof starts making me money!


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 6:03 p.m.

Meanwhile, this article says that solar panels now produce more electricity than it takes to make them: Note: the comment section on this article is also worth reading.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 5:49 p.m.

Couple of items - one at a time since is not link friendly: #1. Nuclear power has saved 1.8 million lives in the last 40 years. Discover Magazine:


Thu, Apr 11, 2013 : 5:17 a.m.

Those were individual bombs, not the meltdown of an entire nuclear plants core. OMG.


Mon, Apr 8, 2013 : 10:50 p.m.

"Never been"? Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Former Soviet Republics (the "Stans" - and weapons production centers). A range from 30k to almost a million? Let me guess, the "greener" the study roots, the higher the number. Keep scratching Sparty.


Mon, Apr 8, 2013 : 8:32 a.m.

Yes, ArborComment, since there has never been a nuclear disaster the size and scope of Chernobyl, drawing a 100% causality for the massive increases in Cancer deaths is impossible. Perhaps you could succeed where the planets Scientists cannot? The estimates above were provided by experts based on the release of radiation, the spread of it, the increase in cancer, subsequent deaths, etc.


Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 9:22 p.m.

Thanks Sparty! "Estimates" "Potentially" "Vary" "Predicted" "Or more" "Ocurred Worldwide"


Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 7:55 p.m.

Chernobyl disaster Chernobyl disaster, Ukraine, April 26, 1986. Estimates of the total number of deaths potentially resulting from Chernobyl Disaster vary. A 2006 report predicted 30,000 to 60,000 cancer deaths as a result of Chernobyl fallout. A Greenpeace report puts this figure at 200,000 or more. A Russian publication, Chernobyl, concludes that 985,000 premature cancer deaths occurred worldwide between 1986 and 2004 as a result of radioactive contamination from Chernobyl.


Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 12:19 p.m.

Not really going one way or the other Sparty. For the sake of brevity I provided the link (and the one favorable to solar power immediately below). But since you poked, and I'm sure any reference favorable to nuclear power makes a liberal's head hurt and reach for self-medication... 1) I'm always happy to use at least one finger on each hand, and type in an answer to those that might be Internet browser restricted. 2) But you indicated you've read the article, therefore your browser works: "uncountable cases of cancer and birth defects" attributable to nuclear power. Your browser works Sparty, dig! We'll await the figures. 3) And your parting chuckle, "how many deaths in solar?" I'll take a stab at it and you can play goldilocks. Between accidents in raw material gathering and production (much of the latter done in China, where we know their factory safety and health is less than stellar), and the fact that many of those darn panels have to be on the roof (competing with both gravity and overhead power lines for installer death rates); I'll pitch low and say 4999 worldwide. That total would make a nice headline: "Solar Power Kills More In One Year Than Nuclear In 40". Don't you agree?


Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 3:11 a.m.

I did read the article,but thought it worth having the thousands of deaths repeated. Thousands of deaths from nuclear energy, uncountable cases of cancer and birth defects. Yes there are deaths in oil and coal pouting but not in the thousands. And, how many would you estimate in solar energy - LoL ?


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 8:55 p.m.

And as the article covers only an emissions comparison, it does not include deaths in coal mines and in oil production.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 8:51 p.m.

If you had bothered to read the link, you would have learned an estimated four thousand.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 8 p.m.

How many has it killed in the two major accidents ?


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 5:18 p.m.

..and as for reporting - please tell us what will become of the "$4 million dollar array" when, in less than 2 decades, the PV panels begin failing?? Do the fools in Ypsi get their money back as their "array" is recycled into beer cans?


Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 1:39 a.m.

PV Solar panels are a static source of power with performance gurantees of 80% beyond 25 years. No other power plant provides this level of performance gurantee or has such a low environmental impact. This is a perfect application to use land that is otherwise unusable. Currently Michigan is getting 80% of its power from imported coal with its inherent adverse environmental impact. PV Solar panel electical production is close to reaching parity with other less desirable forms of power.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 7:52 p.m.

You don't suppose that there is maintenance and replacement on the Oil, Coal, and Nuclear energy equipment do you?


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 6:17 p.m.

The "fools" in Ypsi will be collecting rent. You might want to direct your bile at DTE who would own the solar panels. Say, don't they know something about nuclear and coal?


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 5:16 p.m.

Why? What is the objective of wasting money we don't have on energy gimmicks? Will this "array" change the earth's weather? Will it make power cheaper or MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE? There is NO REASON to buy power from anywhere except the cheapest possible coal and nuclear plants. ...and any democrat hacks creating new regulations designed to make those sources more expensive should be VOTED OUT OF OFFICE IMMEDIATELY. This is FRAUD ON A MASSIVE LEVEL, MINDLESSLY SUPPORTED BY FOOLS.

Robert Gordon

Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 1:12 a.m.

Solar costs and efficiency have both improved so much over the past few years it is doubtful that a book in the library has kept abreast of them. In February, Michigan's PSC has solar and wind between $50 and $70 per mw. Detroit Edison has Fermi III costs of at least $110 per mw. The PSC has coal at $103 per mw. So, what makes you think solar and wind do not make sense.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 7:49 p.m.

Which specific Regulations are you referring to ? What specific Fraud are you referring to ? What energy gimmick are you referring to ? Do you believe that solar power does not generate electricity? Or will it over time become less expensive than imported oil ? Do you not believe that it less dangerous to the environment than oil, coal, or nuclear energies ? Please elaborate.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 6:21 p.m.

I think you misunderstood the article.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 3:39 p.m.

Sorry, but the numbers for solar panel electrical production are much inflated from what you can expect in reality and even if that wasn't the case, it is still not economically effective currently. Read what a environmentalist who did the research has to say, read the book "Green Illusions" which the AA library has a copy of. We are spending our money, time and effort on some things that are not going to be productive for a long time. Reality has a way of not caring how great something sounds at the moment.


Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 1:37 a.m.

Greg, your information is out of date. PV Solar is approaching parity with other current electric production even when manufacturing is considered. This is the perfect application for small utility scale over property that is otherwise unusable.

Robert Gordon

Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 11:31 p.m.

Solar costs and efficiency have both improved so much over the past few years it is doubtful that a book in the library has kept abreast of them. In February, Michigan's PSC has solar and wind between $50 and $70 mw. Detroit Edison has Fermi III costs of at least $110 mw. The PSC has coal at $103 per mw. So tell me Greg, what makes you think solar and wind do not make sense.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 8:07 p.m.

Obviously some green tech is not as good as advertised. But you're wrong about solar. Most residential applications perform really well, even here in "cloudy" Michigan.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 2:30 p.m.

C'mon, DTE! Pick us already and end the suspense. Let's make Ypsilanti into the solar capital of Michigan!

Dog Guy

Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 2:20 p.m.

This project could provide a thermal column for hawks to ride while reducing rodent populations, thus preventing total waste of our tax dollars.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

haha! random, dude. I think 4 acres of solar panels would be great. Who said anything about your tax dollars, anyway?

Rick Stevens

Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 1:22 p.m.

The huge Ann Arbor landfill on Ellsworth would be a great spot for solar arrays. Great SW exposure, no trees and a hillside.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

Yes, but no visibility to the public. This is just as much an advertising project for DTE as it is for renewable energy. That said, I'm still all for it!

David Cahill

Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 12:39 p.m.

I really like this project and hope DTE approves it!


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 12:32 p.m.

"why not the former ford plant parking lot?" If the owner of the Ford property did not submit an RFP, they would not be considered for the program. Do you know if they submitted an RFP?

dading dont delete me bro

Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 1:11 p.m.

doubt it, but the lot is for sale. how much does it co$t to clear the trees, test the ground, etc, etc, etc.?

dading dont delete me bro

Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 12:15 p.m.

why not the former ford plant parking lot? it's already cleared and level. no tree cutting needed. maybe that lot makes too much sense?


Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 1:35 a.m.

Dading - because parking lots can be used for other purposes and has land value. Putting a Solar plant on unusable landfill property is genius!

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 11:11 a.m.

Kudos to everyone involved in this excellent project!

Bob W

Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 10:15 a.m.

" , but DTE has indicated to SunDurance that they are interested in a smaller installation on the site of around 750 watts." I believe you mean 750Kw's.

Katrease Stafford

Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 12:46 p.m.

Thanks, it's been updated.