U-M, DTE Energy to Install Solar Panels on North Campus

Jim Michels, Office of Campus Sustainability and Scott Simons, DTE Energy
Release Date: 

The University of Michigan announced today that it is partnering with DTE Energy to install solar panels on North Campus.

The project, through DTE Energy’s SolarCurrents program, will involve the installation of ground-based and pole-mounted solar panels, rated up to 600 kilowatts (kW). These panels have a potential annual generating capacity of 750,000 kilowatt hours (kWH) of energy. For reference purposes, the Fleming Administration Building consumed 623,000 kWH of electricity in FY 2011.

All capacity and energy produced by the solar panels will be owned by DTE Energy and will be fed directly into the DTE Energy electric grid. The solar panels, some of which will track the movement of the sun for maximum output, are expected to be installed and operational by the fall of CY 2012.

“This partnership program with DTE Energy is another example of the ongoing commitment from the University to make the Ann Arbor campus a living learning laboratory for students and campus visitors, “ said Hank Baier, associate vice president for Facilities & Operations. “We are constantly seeking alternative energy programs to make our campus and the world more energy efficient, and we are pleased to be able to join DTE in this solar project.”

Under the agreement, DTE Energy will engineer, procure and construct the solar arrays and perform site preparation.

”This SolarCurrents project builds on our partnership with the University and shows how our organizations work to build a more energy-efficient and sustainable future,” said Trevor Lauer, DTE Energy vice president, Marketing & Renewables. “We expect to invest nearly $2 billion in the coming years to meet the state’s renewable energy goals, and in addition to our solar installations, we plan to build or acquire wind farms and other green energy facilities.”  

This marks the second time U-M and DTE Energy have partnered on an alternative energy project. In March 2010, the University announced it was purchasing renewable energy credits (RECs) from DTE Energy’s GreenCurrents program for wind energy from two wind turbines located in northern Michigan. Other  alternative energy initiatives currently in operation on the Ann Arbor campus include a solar array on the roof of the Dana Building, a solar water heater on the roof of the Central Power Plant (CPP), and the university’s first geothermal project which is part of the new golf practice facility.

DTE Energy (NYSE:DTE) is a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include Detroit Edison, an electric utility serving 2.1 million customers in Southeastern Michigan, MichCon, a natural gas utility serving 1.2 million customers in Michigan and other non-utility, energy businesses focused on gas storage and pipelines, unconventional gas production, power and industrial projects, and energy trading. Information about DTE Energy is available at dteenergy.com, twitter.com/dte_energy and facebook.com/dteenergy.

For more information on the University’s announcement on its sustainability commitment and President Mary Sue Coleman’s speech, please go to http://sustainability.umich.edu/.