An orphanage in Haiti, as well as organizations in Michigan, will harness the energy of the sun thanks to donations of solar panels and inverters from Detroit Edison.

The solar equipment came from the utility’s first solar facility in Scio Township, near Ann Arbor, which first started producing electricity in 1997. The facility was decommissioned this summer in favor of newer solar technology that’s being installed at the site. In the meantime, Detroit Edison has donated the 120 solar panels and power inverters to six organizations.

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“This is a very rewarding part of retiring the solar equipment,” said Trevor Lauer, DTE Energy vice president for marketing and renewables. “The panels will be used by high school and college-aged students, and in the case of the Haiti orphanage, to provide power in a country still trying to recover from a hurricane and earthquake.”

The solar panels will be given to these organizations:

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* Oakland Community College, Auburn Hills — 30 panels to be used for a roof-mounted installation on the Advanced Technology Center and incorporated into the Electrical & Alternative Energy curriculum.
* Ebenezer Glenn Orphanage, Haiti — 30 panels to replace a propane generator used to power a clinic and school buildings.
* Monroe County Community College, Monroe — 26 panels to be used in the Alternative energy curriculum.
* E-Three Labs, Detroit — 20 panels to be used by the community development organization for technical training in two projects in Detroit and River Rouge.
* Huron Area Technical Center, Bad Axe — Eight panels for two projects involving charging batteries of electric vehicles and for an alternative energy center to allow students to install and monitor solar and wind energy equipment.
* Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association, Dimondale — Four panels to create a mobile demonstration lab that will be taken to events to educate the public.
* St. Elizabeth Church, Wyandotte — Two panels to join other renewable energy systems at the church’s renewable energy educational center.

Detroit Edison continues to seek partners for its $100 million SolarCurrents program, in which the utility installs photovoltaic systems to generate electricity on large customer rooftops or property throughout Southeast Michigan. The solar energy systems are installed, owned and operated by Detroit Edison, while participating customers get an annual credit on their energy bills, as well as a one-time upfront payment to cover any inconvenience during installation.

The utility also has a program for residential and small business customers who have purchased their own solar energy systems. The SolarCurrents program, combined with special metering rates and federal tax credits, can save customers more than half the cost of the system. More than 100 customers are participating in the program.

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