Volts For Volt Dealers: Chevy Solar Charges

A dozen Chevrolet dealerships that sell Volts are getting a little help from the sun – and General Motors. The dealerships are having solar-powered electric car charging stations installed on their properties, and to their great joy, they don’t have to pay for the solar setups.

The stations will provide enough power to fully charge 12 Volts per day and also help supplement the dealerships’ own power needs. American Chevrolet in Modesto, Calif., and Al Serra Auto Plaza in Grand Blanc, Mich., are the first two dealerships to have their solar-powered charging stations up and running. “The beauty of this program is that there is no capital cost required from the dealership,” said Dave Halvorson, president of the Modesto dealership. “Not only do we generate the solar energy to increase our reliance on renewable electricity, but the ‘Green Zone’ is a billboard of our commitment to the environment.”

image via General Motors

The solar charging stations are part of GM’s Green Zone Initiative, which includes an invest of $7.5 million in Sunlogics, a solar panel manufacturing and development company. Sunlogics will supply and install the solar panels on each of the charging stations. Each canopy installed will provide enough electricity for up to 4,500 car charges a year, or enough to power two or three American homes, GM said.  Officials estimate the canopies will provide one-quarter of each dealership’s overall power.

In addition to the investment in Sunlogics, GM has also promised to double its solar output, from 30 MW to 60 MW by 2015. The company currently has one of the largest solar rooftop installations in the world on it’s Zaragoza, Spain, assembly plant.

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Kristy Hessman is a writer and native Oregonian who currently resides in California. Before starting her own company, she worked as a reporter covering business and politics for daily newspapers and The Associated Press.