- In the same Motor City whose automotive industry has long been powered by fossil fuel, solar power is becoming a new player in the market. Detroit-based DTE Energy has announced that it will place seven solar-powered trash compactors and recycling units throughout downtown Detroit.
- The units will come from Bigbelly, a Needham, MA-based company, and will collect and compact aluminum, plastic and other waste on-site.
- The solar panels on the compactors will use energy from the sun to keep the compactor's batteries charged, and each unit will send a signal to Waste Management of Michigan when it is ready to be emptied.
When a conventional utility takes an interest in solar power, it's news, but this initiative seems especially poignant given the locations of the compactors. DTE Energy will install three units in three different locations downtown, as well as four units at the company’s headquarters.
"We believe the Bigbelly project will be good for our customers, our employees and the Detroit neighborhood where we are based and the larger Detroit community we serve. We hope other companies will consider these cost-effective units," said David Meador, vice chairman and chief administrative officer for DTE Energy.