The Michigan Public Service Commission has approved Detroit Edison's first Engineer, Procure and Construct contract for the utility's SolarCurrents renewable energy program.

The regulatory approval paves the way for Detroit Edison to start its own commercial solar projects at various locations throughout its Southeastern Michigan service area.

The $18-million, one-year contract was awarded to Nova Consultants Inc. of Novi. The contract directs Nova to analyze the feasibility, design, installation and start-up of up to 3 MW of photovoltaic (PV) solar systems to be installed on Detroit Edison-owned, as well as customer-owned facilities.

"This contract will provide a number of new energy opportunities for our larger customers, as well as economic development benefits for the region as a whole," said Trevor Lauer, DTE Energy vice president, Retail Marketing. "We're interested in installing solar photovoltaic systems at businesses, educational institutions and non-profit organizations."