NCRC Part of Campus-wide Sustainability Efforts Solar Array Construction on NCRC

February 22, 2013

During the fall of 2012, the University of Michigan partnered with DTE Energy to build a solar array on University of Michigan property. Situated at the North Campus Research Complex, this project is part of DTE Energy's utility-owned solar program.

This construction at the corner of Plymouth Road and Huron Parkway at NCRC was undertaken by DTE Energy, with their engineer/builder, Nova Consultants. The project, through DTE Energy’s SolarCurrents program, consists of 1,794 solar modules in a ground-mounted array on approximately 2.45 acres, rated up to 440 kilowatts (kW). DTE will be investing about $2.2 million in this project. These panels have a potential annual generating capacity of 512,000 kilowatt hours (kWH) of energy. 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. Under the agreement, DTE Energy engineered, procured and constructed the solar arrays and performed all necessary site preparation. As part of the development package, DTE Energy will provide an on-site educational solar energy kiosk at NCRC.

“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,” said Hank Baier, associate vice president for Facilities & Operations. More information is available here.

This initiative is part of the university’s efforts to support sustainability initiatives across campus. University President Mary Sue Coleman told University students in September 2012 that they are going to be living, seeing and breathing a lot more green in the next 14 years.

Speaking in the Hatcher Graduate Library’s Gallery Room this past fall, Coleman introduced an ambitious new set of sustainability goals that the University will start working toward in 2012 and are projected to be completed by 2025, including changes to the University’s transportation, emissions and academic offerings. The full press release can be found here.

The construction work on the solar panels at NCRC was completed in January 2013. Landscaping along Plymouth Road will be undertaken in the spring to complete the project.

Average monthly power consumption for a Michigan home is 683kWh, for a daily use of 22.77 kWH per day. In September the NCRC site is projected to produce 48,281 kWH. This would mean during the month of September the NCRC site would produce enough power for 71 averaged size Michigan homes.