If you find yourself driving down the I-94 service drive to the south of our Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant during late summer, don’t be alarmed by a solar-powered glare emanating from what used to be a parking lot.
What is it?
Oh, just the largest photovoltaic solar array in Southeast Michigan.
Yesterday, General Motors and DTE Energy announced the 516-kilowatt project during a groundbreaking. The array will generate electricity capable of charging 150 Chevrolet Volts every day for a year – a total of 54,750 Volts.
“This array will significantly decrease energy consumption by combining solar power with ongoing efficiency tactics such as lighting and equipment upgrades and automating equipment shut-down,” said Bob Ferguson, vice president of GM Public Policy. “Making sustainable choices is good for both the environment and our bottom line. Obviously cost savings is critical for GM, and the ability to save $15,000 per year while being environmental serves us well.”
The installation will be part of DTE Energy’s SolarCurrents pilot that calls for enough of these solar systems on customer property or rooftops during the next five years to generate 15 megawatts of electricity throughout Southeast Michigan.
GM is one of the leading users of renewable energy in the manufacturing sector, deriving energy for manufacturing operations from solar, hydro, and landfill gas resources. In the United States alone, 1.4 percent of GM energy consumption comes from renewable resources.