An innovative clean energy collaboration between auto manufacturer Ford, utility Detroit Edison and energy storage systems builder Xtreme Power plans to bring to Michigan one of its largest solar energy systems, which will be used to help in the production and usage of electric vehicles. The system will be installed at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant.
The collaboration, as explained by Ford, will find the maker of the new Focus and Focus Electric cars as well as other next generation hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles working with Detroit Edison to install a 500 kw solar photovoltaic panel system at its plant in Wayne, Michigan. This system will be tied into a 750 kw energy storage facility, with technology provided by Xtreme Power, that can store two million watt-hours of energy using batteries – enough to power 100 average Michigan homes for a year. This integration in turn will be blended with conventional electricity to power the plant, saving an estimated $160,000 per year in energy costs.
When the plant is inactive, such as holidays, added Ford, the collected solar energy will go into the energy storage system for later use, providing power during periods of insufficient or inconsistent sunlight. The system will also be able to recharge from the grid during off-peak hours when energy is available at a lower cost, reducing peak demand needs. A secondary, smaller solar energy system will be integrated at a later date to power lighting systems and, in addition, Ford will install 10 electric vehicle-charging stations at its plant to “demonstrate advanced battery charging technologies using renewable energy and other smart-grid advances.”
“With this solar energy system, we will be able to gain vital understanding about the integration of renewable power, smart-grid technologies and energy storage at an industrial facility,” said Jim Tetreault, Ford vice president, North America Manufacturing, in a statement. “This project is a part of the transformation of Michigan Assembly from a large SUV factory to a modern, flexible, and sustainable small car plant.”