Swift Run Solar Farm

A decade ago, Pittsfield Township first articulated its commitment to sustainability which was formalized with the adoption of the 2010 Pittsfield Master Plan. The policy priorities, both then and now, seek to address sustainability through multiple initiatives/programs, one of them being a commitment to invest in and promote use of renewable sources of energy. While Pittsfield Township has continually updated both its policy documents and zoning ordinances, in this past decade, to move this commitment forward we have been unable to implement a public project – until now!

Pittsfield Township is excited to partner with the City of Ann Arbor and DTE to install a solar farm at the Wheeler Center, which will generate about 25 MW of energy. Pittsfield is seeking to enter into an agreement with DTE to supply 100% of its municipal energy use through this power generation, which equates to about 1 MW.

Pittsfield Township is investing $0 in the proposed project. The only monetary cost that Pittsfield Township will incur is some increase in per unit cost for energy for switching from fossil fuel to solar energy. Given that credits for the use of renewable energy sources varies significantly from year-to-year, we cannot predict that cost, over a period of time, to Pittsfield Township except that in the first year we are likely to pay about 30% more in energy cost for switching from a fossil fuel to a renewable source (which can be absorbed by the General Fund without making any budgetary modifications). In most likelihood, not only will this per unit cost for solar energy decline over a period of time but will reap net savings as the production and consumption of solar energy expands.

While the Wheeler Center is within the jurisdiction of the City of Ann Arbor, a portion of the site is under a Planned Unit Development that requires planning and zoning approval from Pittsfield Township. This relationship allows Pittsfield Township the opportunity to establish a partnership that meets its priority of investing in and promoting the use of renewable sources of energy without incurring any capital or other significant costs.