Solar array to power Chevrolet Volt assembly plant

The 516-kW project will generate electricity capable of charging 150 of the electric cars with extended-range capability every day for a year — a total of 54,750 Volts

Detroit, May 11, 2011 A photovoltaic solar array will be built at the General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, turning sunlight into electricity to help power the home of the Chevrolet Volt electric car.

The 516-kW project, announced by GM and DTE Energy, will generate electricity capable of charging 150 of the electric cars with extended-range capability every day for a year — a total of 54,750 Volts.

The 264,000-square-foot project is expected to be completed at the end of the summer and will save the facility about $15,000 per year over the 20-year easement agreement. The Detroit-Hamtramck facility was chosen because it has available space for the array and because it is home to the Volt.

The Detroit-Hamtramck installation is part of DTE Energy's SolarCurrents pilot that calls for enough photovoltaic systems to be installed on customer property or rooftops during the next five years to generate 15 MW of electricity throughout Southeast Michigan. DTE is investing $3 million in the array at Detroit-Hamtramck.

DTE Energy and GM will build the array on a six-acre tract of land located on the south side of the plant. This placement allows it to face true South to maximize solar output.

The array will complement other green activities at the plant, which was recently named a Michigan Clean Corporate Citizen for its commitment to the environment.

Environmentalism is evident by a 16.5 acre certified wildlife habitat on the site and the voluntary installation of an oxidizer that greatly reduces the amount of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide released into the atmosphere. In addition, efficient lighting upgrades and other energy efficiency projects will save the plant nearly $3 million per year in energy costs.

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 U.S. alone, 1.4 percent of GM energy consumption comes from renewable resources.

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