Solar Array to Power Chevrolet Volt Assembly Plant
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.