The US city of Detroit, MI,  has told the media about its plans to convert specific areas around its municipal buildings to install solar power, with an opt-in plan for high-population domestic areas keen to host solar panels in apartment blocks, community dwelling areas and other multi-occupancy buildings.

┬áDetroit Mayor Duggan highlighted case studies from Chicago, IL and Cincinnati, OH, where solar farms are planned for farmland, rural areas, and other communities. ┬áDetroitÔÇÖs scheme, in comparison, would also use derelict urban areas - such as former parkland and even sites formerly used for illegal dumping. One example, the 20-acre decommissioned O'Shea Park has been transformed through a collaboration between The City of Detroit and DTE Energy. Solar panels have been installed on 9.6 acres along the Interstate and Greenfield edges of the park. This leaves roughly 4 acres of active park area bordering the community which have received a major renovation, including new walking paths, resurfaced basketball courts, play fields and community gathering space with seating, new trees and native flower beds.

The park builds upon the theme of sustainability with a bioretention garden at the corner of Rutherford and Capitol built by Detroit Water and Sewer Department. The bioretention garden helps manage stormwater from the park and adjacent street to reduce neighbourhood flooding, and also provides an opportunity to showcase native plantings. The city plans to use lessons learned from the OÔÇÖShea Park installation when planning its forthcoming projects.

 The city estimated 250 acres of solar panels will be required for its many projects. These will be installed in 10-50-acre blocks across the city. Neighbourhoods and block clubs who apply to host the solar farms could receive up to US$25,000 per acre in community benefits, such as parks and recreation improvements, energy efficiency improvements, and use of the solar power to energise domestic homes.

Jul 18, 2023
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