The Hartland school board voted unanimously to approve a DTE Energy site plan for a possible solar-energy farm on three acres of land near Hartland High School.
While the lease agreement would give Hartland Schools $15,000 a year for the land use, Assistant Superintendent Scott Bacon said there were also many educational benefits for Hartland students.
With an educational area designed into the site plans, science students would be given the opportunity to study the solar powered panels. DTE will also provide a mobile kiosk in the school that will give interactive information available for student learning.
As the first Michigan Green School and a wind turbine for educational purposes already approved by the township, Bacon says that adding this new renewable energy source in Hartland will only add to the district’s “green” reputation.
“That’s what we hope,” Bacon said. “If kids are seeing examples of renewable energy around them then maybe that will mean something as we go forward.”
Although approved, school board vice president Thom Dumond expressed some concern over the visibility of the ground design which would be located on the corner of Hartland and Dunham Road.
“This is going to have a significant impact on that corner in Hartland,” Dumond said. “When you come over the top of that hill now in Hartland, this is the first thing you’re going to see. You won’t be seeing our buildings, you won’t be seeing the village, you’ll be seeing this large solar collector.
“I think everything needs to be done as much as possible to screen this,” Dumond said.
With the school board approving the agreement, DTE will now need approval from the Hartland Township before construction could begin.
Superintendent Jan Sifferman requested that several school board members be present during meetings with the township planning commission to ensure that the school board is satisfied with the final site plans to achieve appropriate screening measures for the solar panels.
Energy from the solar-energy farm has the potential to power approximately 100 DTE customer homes and if Hartland Township approves the plan, construction on the project would begin this spring and be completed by September 2013.