DTE opens 2,520-panel solar array in Ypsi

The city of Ypsilanti is now home to DTE Energy's newest solar panel installation, the Detroit-based utility company's fifth in Washtenaw County.
 
On Friday, the city and DTE will celebrate the commissioning of the 2,520-panel array built over the summer on five acres at the intersection of Clark Road and River Street. DTE is leasing the land from Highland Cemetery.
 
David Harwood, DTE's director of renewable energy, says the installation generates about 844 kilowatts, or about enough energy to power 150 homes.
 
"This is just part of that overall effort by DTE to shift our electrical generation from predominantly fossil-based fuels, like coal, to a more balanced generation fleet that would include wind, solar, and natural gas, as well as coal and nuclear going forward," he says.
 
The installation is comparable in size to three other sites DTE operates around Ann Arbor — one north of downtown near the intersection of US-23 and M-14, and two near the University of Michigan campus — that each generate about 1,000 kilowatts.
 
Ypsilanti economic development director Beth Ernat says the new installation moves the city closer to its goal of generating 1,000 megawatts of energy from renewable sources, which also includes a campaign to implement 1,000 solar roofs on local buildings.
 
A full audit has yet to be done to determine where that goal stands today, but Ernat says several city-owned facilities have participated by installing solar panels, including Ypsi's city hall, fire department, freighthouse, and public services facility. Several private homes have participated as well.

Eric Gallippo is an Ypsilanti-based freelance writer.
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