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Solar farm coming to a Farmington Hills HS

DTE Energy's fifth solar farm will be fired up this fall at Mercy High School in Farmington Hills.

The roof-top photovoltaic system will be installed on 125,000 square feet of rooftop at the all-girls Catholic school on 11 Mile and Middlebelt Roads, within view of passersby. The cost of the project is $2.5 million and is part of DTE's SolarCurrents program, which promotes the use of alternative energy. DTE plans to spend more than $100 million on the SolarCurrents program, which has several facets.

The program aims to meet a state mandate for "ten percent of our generation to come from renewable sources by 2015," says DTE Energy spokesman Scott Simons.

"We're pleased that Mercy High School will be the first private high school to participate in SolarCurrents, which is one of the largest distributed solar programs in the country," Trevor Lauer, DTE Energy's vice president of marketing and renewables, says in a statement. "We're seeing that the program has encouraged the development of new renewable energy projects by providing financial incentives to nonresidential customers interested in solar energy."

Mercy, which has been designated a Green School, joins other solar farms at Blue Cross Blue Shield, Ford Motor Corp, General Motors Corp., and Monroe Community College, Simons says. They all are expected to participate in the program for 20 years. In return they receive discounts on their utility bills and payment to cover the inconvenience of construction.

Besides solar, DTE is building wind farms and creating sources of biomass and other forms for power. The utility is expecting to spend nearly $2 billion to do that.

The power generated will go into DTE's grid for all its customers to use, he says.

Source: Scott Simons, spokesman, DTE Energy
Writer: Kim North Shine
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