It experiences harsh, cold winters, but Michigan is now home to a 200,000 panel solar array on a 250-acre site. The Lapeer solar park is operational and generating enough renewable energy to power 11,000 homes, it was announced Monday. It is one of the largest utility-owned solar parks east of the Mississippi River, Detroit based DTE Energy said in a statement.
Irene Dimitry, DTE Energy's vice president of business planning and development, said the company wanted to provide its customers with energy that was "reliable, affordable and cleaner." Dimitry added that DTE planned to cut carbon emissions by more than 80 percent by the year 2050.
DTE said it had invested $170 million in solar energy since 2008, and that solar represented 7 percent of its renewable energy portfolio. The U.S. Department of Energy describes solar power as being "more affordable, accessible and prevalent in the United States than ever before."
The second quarter of 2017 saw just under 2.4 gigawatts (GW) of solar photovoltaics installed in the U.S., according to the U.S. Solar Market Insight report from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association. The report, which was released in September, said this represented an increase of 8 percent year-on-year.
The U.S. is home to some vast solar power sites, such as the 550-megawatt Topaz Solar Farm in California. According to developer First Solar, the facility generates enough electricity to power 160,000 average Californian households.