As part of an effort to green the production of the Chevrolet Volt, General Motors announced earlier this week that the company will install solar panels at its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant to help power the facility.
GM is hoping that the energy captured through the 264,000 square-foot panels will help charge 150 Volts daily. The panels are estimated to save the automotive giant $15,000 in annual energy costs over the next 20 years. That combined with more efficient lighting and equipment updates could reduce overall costs by nearly $3 million annually for the company.
The $3 million project will be built and operated by DTE energy, as part of its Solar Currents program, which is installing photovoltaic systems at sites across South East Michigan, and will feed 516-kilowatt worth of electricity directly into the assembly lines.
In all, the multi-location program is expected to generate 15 megawatts of solar electricity for the south eastern part of the state.
“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.”