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Week of June 10, 2013

Additional solar panels spring up on North Campus

Construction began last month at the site of the second U-M/DTE Energy solar panel installation fulfilling President Mary Sue Coleman’s commitment to bring renewable energy to North Campus, as announced in her 2011 Sustainability Address.

The 240-kilowatt photovoltaic system will include approximately 1,000 panels on 1.56 acres located on the north side of Fuller Road, between Bonisteel Boulevard and Beal Avenue.

In addition, university grounds staff began landscaping the area surrounding the existing solar installation on 2.46 acres along Plymouth Road. A combination of shade trees, evergreen trees, ornamental trees, shrubs and perennials are being added to the site.

“The solar arrays are a visual demonstration to our commitment to sustainability,” said Terry Alexander, executive director of the Office of Campus of Sustainability. “While the energy generated will not be used toward meeting the university’s 2025 goals, the renewable energy systems assist in building a campus culture that embraces sustainability.”

The new solar array will consist of 25 rows of panels paired with seven “trackers” that will rotate panels to align with the sun as it moves during the day. At full capacity the solar field will generate enough energy to power 34 average-size homes. Landscaping will be added to the site after the installation is completed.

An interactive, informational kiosk that provides real-time data on the energy output of all of DTE Energy systems, including the U-M/DTE Energy solar arrays, is located on North Campus in Building 18 at the North Campus Research Complex, with an additional kiosk to be installed in the Duderstadt Center.

Like the first installation, the second array will be built, owned and operated by DTE Energy. All energy generated by the solar panels will be directed into DTE Energy’s grid and available for use by its northern Ann Arbor customers.

In exchange for use of its land, the university will receive an annual payment of $6,000 for 20 years to cover the cost of site maintenance.

The university hosted a neighborhood meeting in April to share its plans for the second installation and received positive feedback regarding the project and its proposed location.

Both installations are part of DTE Energy’s SolarCurrents program, which supports its goal to generate 10 percent of electricity through renewable energy by 2015.


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