As big businesses across the globe strive to manage long-term energy costs by employing alternative energy initiatives, General Motors has been identified as a leader in solar energy.
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has recognized General Motors as the biggest automotive user of solar power in the United States, an acknowledgement that places The General in the number 13 spot of the top 20 solar-powered companies in the country. The industry rankings were decided by SEIA as well as the Vote Solar Initiative, which rated firms by cumulative solar energy capacity.
“Being listed among environmental leaders like Walmart and IKEA reinforces our progress in reducing our energy use,” said Mike Robinson, GM vice president of Sustainability and Global Regulatory Affairs. “We understand the environmental and business benefits of using renewable energy and we look forward to building on it with our new commitments.”
Last year, General Motors announced plans to double its global solar output to 60 megawatts in the next three years and to increase its renewable energy use by 125 megawatts by the year 2020.
Currently, The General’s U.S. solar energy efforts consist of the following installations:
- 1.8MW rooftop solar array at Toledo (Ohio) Transmission Plant to be completed in November 2012. It will generate 3 percent of the plant’s electric consumption.
- 1.237MW array on rooftop of White Marsh, Md. plant near Baltimore is one of the largest in the state, generating nearly 6 percent of the facility’s electric consumption.
- 1MW solar array on distribution center in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., was the first public solar project in the United States over 1 megawatt when it began operating in 2006.
- 900kW array on the rooftop of parts distribution warehouse in Fontana, Calif.
- 516kW ground-mount solar array at Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly is the largest of its kind in Michigan.
- 350kW ground-mount array at GM’s Lake Orion Assembly Plant will provide enough energy to power 45 homes annually in Michigan.
Additionally, eight U.S. facilities have solar EV charging canopies on the grounds, including Baltimore Operations, Bowling Green Assembly in Kentucky, Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, Lordstown Assembly and Parma Metal Center in Ohio, Warren Technical Center in Michigan, Warren Company Vehicle Operations and Milford Proving Ground in Michigan. Five more facilities are expected to begin construction before the end of the year.
This year, GM’s solar arrays will generate enough electricity to power 800 U.S. homes. By 2013, that number is expected to double.
The GM Authority Take
The long term feasibility of solar power is obvious, especially when solar arrays can be installed in spaces with small surface areas (such as the solar tracking canopy at Milford, for instance). And it’s great to see The General recognized for its efforts in real-world applications of sustainable energy use. Now, where is Toyota (or Honda) on SEIA’s list?