DTE Energy hopes for solar panel farm at park

Posted at 5:08 PM, Mar 28, 2016

Detroit's west side could soon be getting energized, more ways than one. DTE Energy wants to turn O'Shea playground into solar panels field.

The park has been empty for years, adding to the blight in the neighborhood.

DTE wants to take about 10-acres and use it for solar panel farms.

That would make enough energy to power 300 homes a year.

Rodney Cole of DTE explained, "This is to be one of the largest solar arrays that's been done in the country. Most of the solar arrays are done not in urban environments. This is kind of a pilot."

City Councilman Gabe Leland represents the district that the playground is in.

He says the city could benefit $1.5 million with this project.

"This community has had a lot of promises," Leland said.  "The city has promised this community a great deal and hasn't really delivered. Now is the opportunity."

The project has plans to take down the building and park but Leland wants to keep some of it.

"Allow for some indoor educational experience with kids in the neighborhood specifically around solar," Leland said.

Some residents, Cynthia Lowe, think it's a great idea.

"They will learn about modern new energy," she said.  "It's the best thing I have heard so I say do it."

City Council has to sign off on the project. They will vote Tuesday to approve a 20-year lease.