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Week of October 3, 2011

U-M, DTE Energy to install solar panels on North Campus

U-M announced Sept. 27 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. 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 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,” says 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,” says 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 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 and the university’s first geothermal project, which is part of the new golf practice facility.



Katherine Weider, creative arts producer, School of Art & Design, on offering advice for students: “You can’t always imagine your future. I think you have to trust that your loves and your interests will eventually lead you to the right place.”


“Photographer as Witness: Proof Enough?” with Jill Vexler, 7-8:30 p.m. Oct. 11, Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library Gallery in Room 100

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