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Lightstar tapped to build 10-MW agrivoltaic solar portfolio for city of Detroit

Lightstar Tapped To Build 10 Mw Agrivoltaic Solar Portfolio For City Of Detroit

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Lightstar, in collaboration with the City of Detroit, announced the launch of a new solar project that combines urban agriculture and renewable energy. This initiative, called “Locally-Sited Utility-Scale Solar,” marks the beginning of a multi-phase endeavor aimed at intertwining the growth of solar energy infrastructure with sustainable agricultural development in partnership with Detroit’s vibrant communities.

Phase I of the project is set to bring a 10-MW solar portfolio to two community-centered sites — State Fair and Gratiot-Findlay. With successive phases looking to expand this innovative fusion of technology and agriculture further, Lightstar and city leaders are laying the groundwork for a future where Detroit leads the charge in urban sustainability.

At its core, this venture seeks to empower the local community by marrying solar power generation with agriculture — also known as agrivoltaics. Potential crops such as lettuce, kale, carrots and a variety of berries are anticipated to thrive alongside solar panels, illustrating a harmonious balance between energy production and urban farming. Lightstar is actively seeking urban farming partners that can provide fresh, local and sustainably farmed produce and livestock products to the people of Detroit. These collaborations are intended to fortify Detroit’s food distribution systems, ensuring that the fruits of this project nourish the city’s residents for decades to come.

Lightstar is dedicated to ensuring the project’s positive ripple effects are felt throughout the community. Through the administration of Community Benefits packages, Lightstar will provide energy efficiency upgrades to qualifying homeowners in the neighborhoods directly touched by the project, enhancing their quality of life and cementing a legacy of community-focused progress. These upgrades, coupled with frequent community check-ins to incorporate feedback into the project design, will deliver a project that neighborhoods want to see.

In a significant move toward inclusivity and cultural awareness, Lightstar has partnered with JIMA Studio to roll out a comprehensive community engagement strategy. With its trailblazing work in landscape architecture and urban planning, JIMA Studio offers a unique approach that centers on the needs and aspirations of Black, Latinx and Indigenous communities in Detroit. By leveraging JIMA Studio’s expertise and Lightstar’s resources, the partnership aims to foster resilient communities that honor cultural heritage while promoting sustainable development. The initiatives will not only improve the quality of life for residents but also provide opportunities for local businesses and artists to flourish.

“This project is not just about generating renewable energy; it’s about cultivating hope, fostering resilience and sowing the seeds of a sustainable future for all Detroit residents,” said Brianna Fiorillo, Policy & Strategy Manager, Midwest at Lightstar who played a pivotal role in the successful submission of the project RFP with the city. “Through a partnership with American Farmland Trust (AFT) and Michigan State University Agricultural Extension, Lightstar intends to use the data gathered from this project to inform and inspire similar initiatives nationwide, blazing a trail for the integration of agrivoltaics across the country.”

News item from Lightstar

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