GM Gives Solar Canopy Company A Charge

General Motors might not be the behemoth it once was, but the revived automaker apparently has enough heft to see a new product it thinks it could use, and then grab an equity stake in the young company that makes it. Such is the case with Sunlogics, a solar development and installation start up.

Using its General Motors Ventures arm, GM said it is sinking $7.5 million into Sunlogics, which it will call on to install solar-powered charging stations at Chevrolet dealerships and GM plants and offices – and even large-scale solar arrays at some GM sites.

Solar charging canopy, GM Sunlogics investment

image via GM

You gotta admit, it makes sense, what with the Volt and all – as GM Ventures President Jon Lauckner pointed out when he said the solar canopy project complements a company “electrification strategy that started with the Chevrolet Volt by helping our cars live up to their fullest green potential.”

A chunk of the equity investment will be used by Sunlogics to set up corporate headquarters in suburban Detroit and open two manufacturing plants – one in the Detroit area, and another in Ontario, Canada. GM said the Michigan plant will create 200 jobs and the Canadian plant 110.

Sunlogics solar canopy, GM, Volt

image via GM

GM calls itself the auto industry’s leading user of renewable energy. It says it has three of the largest automotive rooftop solar power installations in the United States, in addition to the world’s largest such installation at a plant in Spain. But the theme of the Sunlogics move was more, more, more: GM said it would double its solar energy output globally by the end of 2015.

“Our GM facilities currently house 30 megawatts of solar power, and we are committing today to double that capacity to 60 megawatts over the next few years, which is equivalent to powering 10,000 homes annually,” said Mike Robinson, GM vice president of Energy, Environment & Safety Policy. “Not only does renewable energy make good business sense, it helps us continue to reduce the impact our facilities have on the environment.”

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Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.