DTE Energy begins first MIGreenPower community solar project in Washtenaw County

Published on October 06, 2021 by Chris Galford

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The first community solar project of DTE Energy’s MIGreenPower plan for Michigan began construction this week in Washtenaw County, in the form of a 20 MW facility meant to support both the city of Ann Arbor and Pittsfield Township.

“With this project, DTE is bringing a large-scale community solar installation to the residents of Washtenaw County,” Trevor Lauer, president of DTE’s electric company, said. “This is just one of many new solar projects DTE plans to bring online by 2025 to empower communities of Michiganders to go solar together.”

The new development will be situated on a capped landfill and a greenfield site currently owned by the city of Ann Arbor. Both the city and Pittsfield Township will assist DTE in development of the solar project, after which all DTE Electric customers will be eligible to volunteer for its offerings. However, Pittsfield Township will be prioritized for this project, which it will use to reach its own 100 percent renewable energy goal. Ann Arbor will purchase any power not subscribed by other customers.

“Renewable energy is an integral component of Pittsfield Township’s Sustainability Blueprint, which envisions significantly reducing our community’s carbon footprint by 2025,” Dr. Mandy Grewal, Pittsfield Township supervisor, said. “That, combined with the fact that Pittsfield has been trying to install a solar array in our community for over a decade, makes the fruition of this project superbly exciting and gratifying. We look forward to continue working with our regional stakeholders and residents to promote environmental sustainability in our region.”

Under the MIGreenPower effort, customers can match their energy use to DTE’s wind and solar projects. This, in turn, promotes further development of wind and solar projects. DTE intends to develop several utility-scale solar projects over the next 10 years, according to Lauer, along with smaller community solar projects like this.

Currently, the landfill project exists solely as an open Request for Proposal, which includes its engineering, procurement and construction. If everything goes according to plan, it should begin generating energy in 2023. Washtenaw itself already has many subscribers to the larger MIGreenPower program, including the University of Michigan, Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor SPARK, several small businesses and more than 6,000 residential customers.