We are years away from having large factory operations fueled by clean energy, but General Motors (GM) made a significant announcement last week.  A 516-kilowatt solar array at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant will generate enough electricity to charge 150 Chevrolet Volts daily, or over 54,000 a year.

The partnership with DTE Energy should save GM US$15,000 a year for the next 20 years.

Construction will begin later this year on six acres adjacent to the plant--facing south to maximize the array’s solar output.

The solar array is just one small part of GM’s move to be a leaner, energy-efficient operation.  An oxidizer at this plant already reduces the amount of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide emitted into the atmosphere, and lighting upgrades and a bevy of other energy efficient features should save the company US$3 million a year at this plant in total.

A GM electric motor plant near Baltimore will also benefit from solar panel as well.

Some may scoff at what is a relatively tiny project, and indeed GM only receives 1.4% of its power from clean energy sources.  Nevertheless, if projects like this can become even more cost effective, look for more projects at GM and at other large industrial companies.

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of GreenGoPost.com. Based in California, he is a business writer and consultant. His work is has also appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. He's pictured here in Qatar, one of the Middle East countries in which he takes a keen interest because of its transformation into a post-oil economy. Other areas of interest include sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at leon@greengopost.com. You can also reach out via Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). As of October 2013, he now lives and works in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.