GM goes solar at Warren Technical Center

An Empower Energies solar EV-charging canopy. Empower Energies—formerly ViSole—has just completed one of its first installations under its new name. The installation consists of four solar photovoltaic arrays at the General Motors Warren Technical Center campus, in Warren, Mich. The projects consist of a 49 kilowatt ground-mount array, and three electric vehicle-charging solar canopies.

The company has installed solar at other GM facilities across the U.S. “Empower Energies has installed 22 similar canopies for Chevy Dealers from Joliet, Ill., to Ankeny, Iowa, to Dublin, Calif., as well as at GM and other commercial facilities across the country, with more being commissioned every month,” it said.

"These EV charging stations may be small in stature by today's solar-industry standards but they represent a huge commitment to clean transport infrastructure,” said Len Jornlin, Empower Energies CEO. He added that they show the company’s ability to scale the stations to customers’ needs, domestically and abroad. GM’s General Motors Ventures LLC has invested in Empower in the past and the company developed its solar EV charging canopies for GM, called GreenZones.

The solar build out for GM is part of the car making giant’s efforts to get more of its energy from renewable sources. "General Motors is committed to promoting the use of 125 megawatts of renewable energy by 2020, which includes solar installations," said GM's Manager of Renewable Energy, Rob Threlkeld. "As the leading automotive user of solar power, we understand the importance of solar projects like this, and we continue to work with companies such as Empower Energies to activate new projects at our facilities around the globe."

The three EV canopies are located close to the Vehicle Engineering Center and the Advanced Engineering Center. There, GM employees with Chevy Volts can charge their vehicles while at work.

The charging stations Empower has installed at Warren and elsewhere are helping the company refine the products while honing commercial understanding of EV owner requirements. "GM is a very sophisticated renewable energy customer with a world-class engineering background," said Lou Pellatiro, Empower Energies VP of EV Solar Charging Operations. "Each of these arrays was installed on a different schedule."

Empower is also working to expand its presence internationally. For the recent GM projects it partnered with the China Triumph International Engineering Company (CTIEC). The companies are working together to procure material and build projects in the United States and China.