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DTE Energy breaks ground on Detroit solar farm

DTE Energy
via Twitter

Construction got started Friday on one of the largest urban solar farms in the country to date.

DTE Energy is behind the project, which will convert 10 acres of largely vacant, city-owned land in O’Shea Park, on the city’s west side, into a site that produces enough energy to power 450 homes.

U.S. energy secretary Ernest Moniz was on hand for the groundbreaking.

Moniz called the project is an example of “the future.” And he says the future is coming fast, in part because renewable energy production has rapidly become more affordable in the past seven years.

“It really also removes risk of fuel price fluctuations. You know what you’ve got, and you know it’s going to produce good, clean energy for a long time,” Moniz said.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan hailed the project as an example of public-private partnership. He said the city is also working on a number of initiatives to rehabilitate the remainder of O’Shea Park, and its surrounding neighborhood.

“If we can replicate this four, five, six, seven times across the city … we’ll start putting our vacant land to good use,” Duggan said.

DTE says the project should be finished by the end of this year.

It’s one of three solar projects the utility has underway in Michigan, as it shifts away from its historic reliance on coal-fired power.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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