DTE Energy, in collaboration with the City of Lapeer, Mich., plans to break ground in the spring of 2016 on 45 megawatts (MW) of new solar generating capacity at two project sites. The projects will generate enough to power 9,000 average size homes with clean, zero-emission solar energy.
The larger of the two solar projects will be 30 MW, located off Interstate 69 between Michigan Highway 24 and Lake Nepessing Road. When completed, it will be the largest operating utility-owned photovoltaic solar array east of the Mississippi and the third largest in the country. A second project totaling 15 MW will be developed simultaneously at a site located on Turrill Road between Michigan Highway 24 and Clark Road.
On Dec. 11, 2015, the Michigan Public Service Commission approved DTE's contract with Inovateus Solar MI, LLC to develop additional solar generating capacity of up to 50 MW. This approval allows DTE to move forward with development of the two Lapeer sites. The company is evaluating other sites for the remaining 5 MW of the approved generating capacity.
DTE is currently developing five other solar projects across Michigan, including a 1.9 MW array at the company's Greenwood Power Plant, a 750-kilowatt (kW) array in Romulus and a 500 kW array in Brownstown, which will be complete by the end of 2015. The company is also planning an 800 kW installation in Ypsilanti and an 800 kW installation at the GM Warren Transmission plant, scheduled to be completed by June 2016.
The addition of these solar projects will position DTE Energy to exceed a state mandate requiring electric utilities to supply 10 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources every year from 2015 to 2029.
DTE is the largest investor in renewable energy in the state, having driven investments of over $2 billion in renewable resources since 2008. Today, DTE Energy's entire renewable energy portfolio, including solar, wind and biomass, is capable of generating nearly 1,000 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 400,000 homes. The portfolio includes facilities owned and operated by DTE Energy, along with contracts to purchase power from facilities owned and operated by third-party developers in Michigan. All of the power generated by these facilities is fed into the company's electrical grid and distributed to where it is needed.