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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

GM Adds Solar Array to Chevy Volt Assembly Plant

May 13, 2011 at 10:27am by Alexander Stoklosa

General Motors is adding a 264,000-square-foot solar array to its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, the facility where it assembles the Chevrolet Volt. While the move clearly showers the Volt’s assembly process with the same warm and fuzzy environmental consciousness exuded by the Volt itself, the solar array also makes keen financial sense, according to GM. Unlike your tiny studio apartment and its $30-a-month electricity bill, the Hamtramck plant’s utility bill is a bit more expensive. GM claims the electricity produced by the solar array will save them $15,000 per year when combined with automated equipment shutdown and other energy-conservation tactics. Oddly, GM also mentions that a recent change to energy-efficient lighting and a few other efficiency tactics will net the plant almost $3 million in energy savings per year, which kind of takes the air out of the solar-array balloon.

The solar array will be installed on a tract of land that abuts the south side of the plant. Given Michigan’s location in the northern hemisphere, the southern exposure affords the solar panels maximum daily sunlight. GM isn’t going it alone in the process of installing the solar panels—Detroit Edison (DTE) is investing $3 million in the solar array as part of an ongoing initiative to proliferate solar setups on the roofs and grounds of private buildings in Southeast Michigan. It isn’t out of the kindness of DTE’s heart; the arrays can feed energy back into the grid, offering the utility another source for juice and easing demands. The array will join other environmentally friendly features already in place at the plant, including an oxidizer that scrubs carbon-dioxide output, the aforementioned energy-efficient lighting, and a 16.5-acre wildlife habitat. Your move, Leaf assembly plant.

Tags: Chevrolet Volt, environment, General Motors |

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