General Motors (NYSE: GM) will soon have the largest photovoltaic solar array in Southeast Michigan, a 516 kilowatt array, which will be built—fittingly enough—at the company’s Detroit-Hamtramck where the Chevy Volt is assembled. The array will be installed by DTE Energy (NYSE: DTE) and will supply electricity on-site to GM.
The array will be located on six-acre plot on the south side of the facility, on a former parking lot. Despite being the home of the Volt, GM’s hybrid electric car, the array won’t feature any charging stations, according to DTE spokesperson Scott Simons.
Under the agreement, DTE will pay GM an annual $15,000 easement for 20 years for installing the photovoltaic installation, Simons said. “[Power produced by the array] will automatically be fed into the plant,” he said. DTE is investing $3 million into the project, according to a press release.
“We will own, operate and maintain the system as part of our efforts to get 10 percent of our generation from renewables by 2015,” Simons said. This particular project is part of the commercial side of DTE’s SolarCurrents program. Under the program, DTE is installing a total of 15 megawatts of utility-owned solar generation and has made agreements for 5 megawatts of customer-owned solar generation, he said. “Solar is not new to us,” said GM spokesperson Sharon Basel. “Our Detroit-Hamtramck facility already has a solar carport for charging electric vehicles. There are 12 solar-powered charging stations.”
GM has installed solar at other locations as well, according to Basel. “We’ve got the world’s largest solar rooftop in Spain at the Zaragoza assembly plant. It generates 12 megawatts of power,” she said. That array covers about 2 million square feet of roof and has about 85,000 solar panels. The company also has two warehouse rooftop arrays in California at its Rancho Cucamonga (1.4 megawatts) and Fontana (just under 1 megawatt) parts warehouse facilities. “Both sites send surplus electricity back to the grid,” she said.
The company will announce some new solar projects in coming weeks, according to Basel.
This is the only solar project that GM currently has with DTE, Simons said. There will be other SolarCurrent projects. “But with other companies in our service area in Southeast Michigan,” he said. And the company has already completed SolarCurrent projects at Ford Motor Co. facility, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan facility in Detroit and at Monroe County Community College, according to Simons.
Image courtesy of GM