General Motors (GM) is now turning to solar generated electricity to help power its Chevy Volt assembly plant. According to a recent announcement made by the company, the installation site at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant was chosen for the project both because it had space for the solar array and because it is the home of the company’s popular green car.
The 264,000 square foot project will be placed on a 6 acre section of land on the south side of the plant’s property, which is meant to give the solar array the best possible exposure to the southern sky, thus maximizing its efficiency. The completed array is expected to have a capacity of 516 kilowatts, which the company says should save it about $15,000 in annual electricity costs. GM equates the amount of power it will get from the solar system annually as the equivalent voltage needed to charge 150 of its Chevy Volt electric vehicles for extended-range capability every day for an entire year.
The installation, which will be handled by Detriot-based DTE Energy, is said to be the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) array in southeast Michigan. DTE includes this installation for GM as part of its “SolarCurrents“ pilot project which aims to see enough PV installations on customer rooftops or property over the next 5 years to generate 15 megawatts of solar electricity within the S.E. Michigan area.
GM calls attention to other environmentally considerate initiatives it has taken at the assembly plant, including an on-site, 16.5 acre certified wildlife habitat, the voluntary use of an oxidizer which reportedly makes significant cuts in the amount of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide released into the atmosphere, as well as efficient lighting upgrades and other various energy efficiency projects that it expects will save the the plant nearly $3 million per year in energy costs.