Solar power array breaks ground in west Detroit

Groundbreaking event takes place at O'Shea Park

DETROIT – A groundbreaking even was held Friday for one of the largest urban solar power arrays in the U.S., which is in the works on Detroit’s west side.

DTE Energy officials were joined by officials from the city of Detroit and the Department of Energy to break ground at O’Shea Park.

"I think it’s really a part of the future," Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz said. "I think it’s great for Detroit today in terms of supporting neighborhoods with this kind of underutilized land."

The O’Shea Solar Project, expected to be complete by the end of 2016, will convert 10 acres of vacant and blighted land into a solar array capable of generating enough energy to power 450 homes, according to DTE.

"The great thing is, this transformation we’re going through is going to change the way we produce electricity as we play this out over the next 15 years," DTE Energy CEO Gerry Anderson said.

The land has been sitting vacant for years. Basketball hoops and fences have rusted over.

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The project is a public-private partnership between DTE Energy and the city of Detroit. The community will receive a 2-acre park and playground, as well as energy audits, workforce training programs and blight removal as part of the deal.

"The tax revenue is going to be a $1 million over 20 years, but the benefit to the neighborhood is going to be dramatically more than that," Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said.

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