DTE Energy to Build Solar Installation on Mercy High School Roof

Farmington Hills high school participates in SolarCurrents program
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DETROIT, July 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — DTE Energy and Mercy High School in Farmington Hills today announced the signing of a 20-year agreement that will provide the utility’s customers with renewable energy generated from the sun.

The 400-kilowatt, $2.5 million photovoltaic system will be installed using 125,000 square feet of roof on the high school at 11 Mile and Middlebelt roads. The solar array should be operational this fall after design and construction is completed.

The installation is part of DTE Energy’s pilot SolarCurrents program that calls for photovoltaic systems to be installed on customer rooftops or property over the next four years to generate 15 megawatts (MW) of electricity throughout Southeast Michigan.

“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,” said Trevor Lauer, DTE Energy vice president, Marketing & Renewables. “We’re seeing that the program has encouraged the development of new renewable energy projects by providing financial incentives to commercial and industrial customers interested in solar energy.”

DTE Energy plans to invest more than $100 million in the program, in which customers participate for a 20-year period. The solar energy systems will be owned, installed, operated and maintained by the company. In return, Mercy High School and other customers that participate will get an annual credit on their energy bills, as well as a one-time, upfront construction payment to cover any inconvenience during installation.

Mercy High School is thrilled to partner with DTE Energy in this exciting solar energy venture,” said Cheryl Delaney Kreger, Mercy High School president. “We are honored to be a Michigan Green School and know that leading this initiative will continue to make a difference in our community.”

Through the efforts of the school’s GREEN Club, Mercy has been recognized this year as an Official Michigan Green School – Emerald Level . GREEN Club members documented various environmental activities such as cell phone and battery recycling; promoting a school-wide effort to reduce energy consumption and ‘reduce, reuse, and recycle’ in the school. In the past two years, Mercy also has installed variable frequency drives on its large air handler drive motors and installed high-efficiency lighting and occupancy sensors throughout the building and in its parking lot. Mercy is also taking steps to more efficiently control its heating and air conditioning.

DTE Energy expects to invest nearly $2 billion in the coming years to add 1,000 MW of renewable energy to meet the state’s renewable energy goals.  In addition to the solar installations, the company plans to acquire or build wind farms and other green energy facilities for half of that capacity, and contract with third party vendors for the rest. For more information about the solar program, visit dteenergy.com/solar.

DTE Energy (NYSE: DTE) is a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include Detroit Edison, an electric utility serving 2.1 million customers in Southeastern Michigan, MichCon, a natural gas utility serving 1.2 million customers in Michigan and other non-utility, energy businesses focused on gas storage and pipelines, unconventional gas production, power and industrial projects, and energy trading. Information about DTE Energy is available at dteenergy.com , twitter.com/dte_energy and facebook.com/dteenergy.

Farmington Hills-based Mercy High School, a Catholic college preparatory school for young women, fosters spiritual, intellectual, moral, physical and cultural development. Enriched by students from diverse backgrounds, Mercy nurtures compassionate leaders committed to addressing human needs, working for justice and serving the poor. Visit mhsmi.org for more information.

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