Ypsilanti to be notified of status of proposed $4M solar array project next week
Ypsilanti will learn next week whether a proposed project to develop a former city landfill into a $4 million solar array site will move forward.
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.
Courtesy City of Ypsilanti
City Planner Teresa Gillotti said Sundurance Energy, the company that submitted a letter of intent to install a 1.3 megawatt solar array, should receive word by Jan. 18 if it made it to the next round of cuts. At that time, DTE will notify its "short list" of possible sites.
DTE will decide soon after which projects receive the final green light and the targeted construction and completion date is Dec. 31, 2013.
Gillotti said she received confirmation that the company submitted all of its application materials before the Dec. 21 deadline. Since the city wasn't the direct applicant, DTE will notify the company first and then Sundurance will inform the city of its standing.
"They felt it was a strong application," Gillotti said.
The city remains optimistic about the possibility of the array.
"We're hopeful," Gillotti said. "We've never gone through any sort of RFP process with the team before, so it's hard to know. ... As far as meeting the requirements for high visibility, it looks like we have enough to meet their basic criteria."
DTE announced last year it was seeking out developable land in highly visible locations, including highway frontage, which city officials say Ypsilanti has.
If the project continues to move forward, 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.
A large digital billboard is currently on the property and the city receives $35,000 per year for that lease.
"If they do make the cut then they're going to have to do more detail on what the next plans are," Gillotti said.
If the project is chosen by DTE, Sundurance will build it and turn it over to DTE, which would then own the equipment. According to the letter of intent, SunDurance will be responsible for all costs and the performance of all work related to the design and construction of the system. DTE will be responsible for all operation, monitoring and maintenance costs.
The project would require a 20-year lease between the city and DTE with the potential to extend for 10 or more additional years.