In partnership with Domino's Farms, DTE Energy has announced the opening of the state's largest solar array to date, a 1.1-MW facility at Domino's Farms in Ann Arbor Township.
The project comprises more than 4,000 panels – enough to cover the football field at the University of Michigan's "Big House." The property, north of M-14 and west of Earhart Road, generates enough electricity to power nearly 200 homes at any given time.
"The support from Domino's Farms, Ann Arbor Township officials, and the broader business community, has been phenomenal," said David Harwood, DTE Energy's director of Renewable Energy.
"DTE is the state's largest investor in solar and wind. The renewable projects we own or contract with represent $2 billion in renewable energy infrastructure," Harwood said. "The Domino's Farms solar array is part of a broader, long-term plan to move us to a cleaner, more diversified energy portfolio, with significant investments in natural gas and renewable energy."
Harwood noted the Domino's Farms project helped DTE Energy meet the state's requirement of electric utilities supplying 10% of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2015.
He was joined by Paul Roney, president of Domino's Farms, and Della DiPietro, Ann Arbor Township treasurer, to celebrate the collaboration, which began more than two years ago.
Roney said that the Domino's Farms solar installation has been a great partnership with DTE Energy, as well as with Ann Arbor Township, which provided site plan approval and permitting.
"The project is also good for Domino's Farms," Roney said. "Although the energy generated is not going directly to the Domino's Farms Office Park, it represents one-quarter of our energy usage and that fits with other sustainability-type efforts we have undertaken from storm water management to energy-efficiency improvements in the building."
Roney added that the project allowed Domino's Farms to make productive use of an under-utilized parcel of land.
DTE Energy constructed the solar array and will operate and maintain the facility for 20 years.
The Domino's Farms project is part of DTE Energy SolarCurrents, a pilot program launched in 2009. DTE Energy has installed 11 MW of solar energy across 23 sites in metro Detroit and in Michigan's "Thumb" area. The company also is constructing a 750-kW array in Romulus and planning an 800-kW installation in Ypsilanti. In addition, several other solar energy projects are in development.
DTE Energy's entire renewable energy portfolio including wind and biomass is now capable of generating nearly 1,000 MW 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.