DTE Energy: Proposed $4M Ypsilanti solar array project moving onto final selection round
DTE is asking the city to approve a lease and agreement for the project in advance of DTE's final selection.
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."