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Posted on Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Ypsilanti approves lease agreement with DTE Energy for proposed $4M solar array

By Katrease Stafford

The city of Ypsilanti has approved an easement and lease agreement with DTE Energy, allowing the proposed $4 million solar array project on a former landfill to move on to the final selection round.


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

Courtesy city of Ypsilanti

The Ypsilanti City Council voted unanimously, with Mayor Pro Tem Lois Richardson absent, to approve the agreement and easement Tuesday night.

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

If Ypsilanti is selected for the project, DTE is interested in the project going into service by the end of the 2013.

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.

"This is one step in the process," said Dan Thompson, a SunDurance representative. "We are going to be submitting our formal proposal. We are very hopeful DTE is going to select it. We'll know after we submit the proposal fairly shortly."

Proposals will be compared to each other for final selection based on various factors including location and price. SunDurance has refined 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 it is 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 an 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 an 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 will submit site plans and a Planned Unit Development application for approval with the city. The PUD process would first go to the Planning Commission for a recommendation and then to city council for a public hearing and approval.

"I think it's a great project," said Council Member Pete Murdock.

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



Thu, Apr 11, 2013 : 10:51 p.m.

I find this very ironic after DTE and Consumers Energy fought or I should say "Bought and paid" millions of dollars to defeat the ballot proposal that would increase the states green energy requirement from 10% to 25%. big business fighting ordinary citizens like you and I. Yet DTE and CMS are behind there own renewable energy plans and that does NOT include us or we the people. We already pay upfront for there multi million dollar solar or wind turbine facilities but there quick to say "you saved XYZ in renewable energy" Being a union man I am ashamed there unions sold out a potential 100,000 jobs, 35,000 permanent high paying maintenance jobs. Most of them Michiganders for we must install and maintain these units. I read a IBEW pamphlet where ironically they were against the proposal? The reasons were literally laughable there number one reason?? No other state has done this before. Yes, just like no one used indoor plumbing before it became available. another reason? all the space it would take up in Michigan with the solar panels and wind turbines proposal would have given incentive for ALL home owners to install. Of course they also say there is no proof of savings for customers down the road. I don't know of many guarantees in life but I do know Michigan is a peninsula and important to us all as we do not have the grid possibilities other states have Plus there ugly, spoiled u think? The bottom line big business wins, the union saves/gains 800 workers and people like you and I have NO incentive to over produce if we do invest $20,000-$50,000. We sure were sold a bill of goods and lost not only green energy but the 1000's of jobs and spin off companies that would have followed. Great job CMS and DTE you insured all Michiganders will be enslaved to you for at least another generation. DTE is better for small producers than CMS. anyone see today's Headlines? CMS charged with price fixing in the California energy crisis. Hmmm that's surprisi

Mark Hergott

Thu, Apr 11, 2013 : 3:53 p.m.

So, our city has some development occurring on Water Street, maligned as it is. We may indeed get a check every year from DTE through this solar array. More people are in the city year over year since the longest time. Property values have stopped declining, and are slowly inching upwards. Now, the pension bombs and the Water Street payments are bad. However, we can make it through this. If we aren't in the middle of a national economy bubble, then we can start building again. The city needs to look towards consolidating the fire department with that of the townships. We already have mutual aid, we might as well throw all of our money into a pot together, and work out how best to fund our retiree obligations as well as put out fires. If we really looked into it, we might be able to offer Ypsilanti Township better policing for a slightly cheaper price than the county. This is something to look at, as much as the council or board of supervisors may dismiss it out of hand. The fact is, Ypsilanti gave up complete political control of its water and sewerage in the 1970s, and YCUA will never go away now. Ypsilanti gave up complete political control of the library, and now the library will never go away. If the cost of maintaining a police force and fire department is the loss of complete political control, then let's make that sale.


Thu, Apr 11, 2013 : 12:37 a.m.

Coal is dying. Only an extremist fringe of anti-science Republicans still don't get it.

no flamers!

Thu, Apr 11, 2013 : 12:34 p.m.

Coal continues to increase; China opens a coal-burning electric plant every 8.5 days. We are now exporting coal. Natural gas is better, but the existing coal plants will remain operation through our lifetimes.


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 11:55 p.m.

I really don't see why this site would even be a consideration. Ypsi has plenty of blighted and unoccupied land that could easily be used. Destroying wildlife habitat is never good for the environment. There's also some wetland in this area. Certainly, the residents that border this site can't be to happy, either. I would expect that DTE and the city are going to have some opposition to this project if it does get approved.

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 12:29 p.m.

when the kilowatt and megawatt numbers are tossed out is that the theoretical maximum on a sunny day?

amy strutz

Fri, Apr 12, 2013 : 11:04 p.m.

It is the theoretical maximum at any given moment, yes. The panels will hit these numbers consistently and they will produce more than their yearly rating unless we were to have a really abnormal year.


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 3:19 p.m.

It is almost certainly the theoretical maximum of the installed panels. Even on a sunny day it will never see those numbers. Still a very good result for a useless landfill site.


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 12:10 p.m.

Is this an either/or choice? Billboard or solar power array? Or can they do both on the property?

Katrease Stafford

Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

Hi foobar417, Both the billboard and solar array can be located on the property.