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New DTE Energy Solar Panel System Could be Built Near I-75, Long Lake Road

Troy officials took initial step to work with DTE on five acres of targeted site.

City of Troy officials agreed Monday night to work with DTE Energy to build a solar panel system property, just east of northbound Interstate-75 and south of Long Lake Road. 

The project would occupy about five acres on a 21-acre site owned by the city, believed by DTE to be a high-quality site based in part on visibility from I-75.

Following the City Council vote Monday night, city officials will work to negotiate a lease agreement between the city and DTE. The project also requires review and approval by the Troy Planning Commission, as well as a public hearing for a special land use approval, according to Troy Director of Economic and Community Development Mark Miller.

Representatives of solar developer/contractor team GenPoint Energy and Inovateus Solar, who spoke at Monday night's meeting, have worked with Troy city officials to push the project through at that site since late last year. If approved, the 1-megawatt solar panel system would be one of the largest operated by DTE.

The plan is built around creating renewable energy resources in local communities and Troy residents would indirectly benefit from solar energy harvested at the site, said Councilman Dave Henderson. Residents living nearby are not expected to have to deal with a noise factor beyond about 10 decibels after a 3-4 month period of construction, said Councilman Ed Pennington.

All capital costs would be paid by DTE and the city would collect an annual rent. 

Mayor Dane Slater expressed concerns of public safety regarding the location of the project in relation to I-75, including the potential of glare from the sun reflected on panels distracting drivers and the possibility of a car driving into the area.

The motion to approve the resolution, which allows city officials to work on a lease agreement with DTE, was affirmed by a 6-1 vote with Councilman Doug Tietz casting the nay vote. Per DTE, the agreement needs to be executed by April 17.

Stick with Patch for more this week from the City Council meeting!

Do you support the efforts for creating renewable energy? Live in the neighborhood and need to sound off? Tell us in the comments.

John David March 05, 2013 at 01:41 PM
I don't see how this is a bad thing. The city gets revenue which it needs from land not being used. The area gets a source of renewable energy paid for by a commercial business. And the project has minimal visual and other impact on the area. Some people will object to anything, but most should support this.
Jake March 05, 2013 at 02:13 PM
Michigan doesn't get a whole lot of sunlight. I can see doing something like this in Arizona, but Michigan? Didn't the "smart house" located in troy have its water pipes freeze because of the lack of sunshine for its solar panels?
Total Health March 05, 2013 at 02:13 PM
I think its a great idea, I'm just not sure about the location. I would think that putting between the outdoor pool and the freeway OR by the Community Center would be better. This will keep it away from residential housing area. Later on, the community may change its mind and decide that putting an exit at Long lake would be a good idea and we wont be able to. .. It sounds like DTE wants the residents to think they are pro solar, so they want to put it by the freeway for the residents to "SEE" what the units.
Total Health March 05, 2013 at 02:15 PM
Does anyone know if DTE has any other locations where they have installed other solar panels??
Timothy Rath (Editor) March 05, 2013 at 03:21 PM
TH: You might be interested to know that a 1-Megawatt panel system was installed in Dayton, OH, according to the presentation. There are also examples of panel systems in Wayne and Greenville. Here's a good list: http://inovateussolar.com/project-profiles
Jeff S. March 05, 2013 at 05:41 PM
I agree, John David -- how could collecting rent from DTE from an unused parcel with limited development potential be a bad thing? So why did Doug Tietz vote no on even letting the city negotiate with DTE!? Very puzzling.
mark otto March 05, 2013 at 10:07 PM
Wait for the NIMBY (not in my back yard).
Bob March 05, 2013 at 11:26 PM
How many trees will be razed in order to install this renewable energy source? Will DTE be compelled to plant the same number of trees elsewhere in the city? ... just food for thought.
John David March 05, 2013 at 11:49 PM
I believe the city has explained within the last year that it has no tree ordinance for developers. The Planning Commission and city work with developers to create screening, either plants or walls, for property that borders on residences. I would think the lease agreement and design for this development would make provisions for things like that, like any other development.
Curtis Myers March 08, 2013 at 09:53 PM
Does the city have any plans to consult with the large residential neighborhood just east of this location? Shouldn't these residents be made aware of the project and the potential impact to them?
Kevin March 08, 2013 at 10:24 PM
My guess is that none of the commenters (particularly Mr. Otto) live next to the proposed site. My family and I do. When Troy residents defeated attempts to construct I-75 ramps at the site eight years ago, the city council voted to leave the site as undeveloped parkland. No action has been taken to overturn that decision, and neither the homeowners association nor, to the best of my knowledge, any resident of the adjacent neighborhood, The Glens of Carlson Park, has been notified of this effort. The city and the developer admit that the panels would increase noise levels in the neighborhood, which would certainly cause home values here to decline. All but one of the council members were not around during the controversy over the freeway ramps, which brought as much (negative) attention to the council as more recent controversies like the proposed library closing. Unless it wishes to provoke similar opposition, the council must bring the residents of the Glens into the process before it moves forward with a lease.
Timothy Rath (Editor) March 08, 2013 at 10:26 PM
Curtis, I believe that the public hearing requires all residents within a certain distance of the project's borders (500 feet? Will have to check) to be notified. I remember Mayor Slater saying (paraphrasing him) on Monday that what took place at the meeting is just another step in a long walk.
Susan Heholt March 11, 2013 at 02:07 PM
and what about potential reflection into the eyes of drivers on I-75?
Timothy Rath (Editor) March 11, 2013 at 05:16 PM
Thanks for the thoughtful comment.
Dania March 13, 2013 at 09:27 PM
It is good idea but not at that location it is do close from my backyard and too many houses same as me ,,and glens of Carlson park should ask the residents who live there before they are taking this action ,I do not agree
Fred March 14, 2013 at 03:49 AM
Horrible news I can't believe they will build solar system in the residential area
Peter Rienks March 14, 2013 at 10:20 PM
I am actually on the development of this project and have been involved in the construction process of solar systems all around the Detroit area. There are several nearby owned by DTE and the hosts of the solar system enjoy them very much. http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2011/04/18/monroe-county-cc-solar-installation-up-and-running/. Solar systems have zero noise emissions once they have been installed and the homeowners will not be able to hear it at all. There is also a special reflective coating that prevents any glare. This solar system will be a monument for Troy in the state of Michigan.
Timothy Rath (Editor) March 14, 2013 at 10:53 PM
Thanks for the perspective, Peter!
Jeff S. March 15, 2013 at 12:59 AM
Why can't you believe it, Fred? It's not like they're opening an oil refinery next door or installing a open sanitary sewer between the houses! This is photovoltaic generation. There won't be any perceptible noise to homeowners. I-75 is and will remain much louder. It's not something way up in the air that blocks your view of the sky. In fact, you'd probably have to go out of your way to even realize that these panels are even installed.
Joe Cadovich March 20, 2013 at 09:36 PM
Joe C I clicked on the link and can not find any of these in other residential settings. Every location seems to be tied to a unveristy or community college. What other neighborhoods have allowed these to be built in their backyards in the state of Michigan. The picture above looks like its on farm land in the middle of no-where. Peter would you be willing to construct one of these solar cities in your neighborhood? It would seem that the city of Troy has enough monuments, why not take this project to a far less populated area and let that community have the monument you speak of and whatever revenue generated by the lease payments.
Peter Rienks March 22, 2013 at 12:44 PM
Joe - Thanks for your comment. Here's a great example of solar next to a residential neighborhood. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPpqVb-Ci48 The surrounding neighbors hardly know it is there.
Andy Z March 26, 2013 at 08:39 PM
Peter, not sure you answered Joe's question: Would you be willing to construct one of these solar cities in your neighborhood?
Peter Rienks March 26, 2013 at 08:46 PM
Absolutely. Especially given the fact that the neighbors will hardly know it is there. I love the thought of having my neighborhood powered by renewable energy.

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