General Motors Adds More Solar Power
New California array will be one of the largest solar power installations in the U.S.
• System will generate green energy for GM and community; reduce greenhouse gas emissions
• Solar array to produce 1.3 million kilowatt hours of electricity a year
Fontana, Calif. -- General Motors announced today it is adding one of the largest solar power installations in corporate use in the United States to the roof of its Service and Parts Operations (SPO) warehouse in Fontana, California. The solar power array will provide about half of the electricity needed to run the facility and will feed enough extra electricity back to the grid to power over 300 California homes for a year.
This new array continues the automaker’s leadership in both the use of solar energy and in innovative business arrangements that blur old distinctions between energy user and energy supplier.
The Fontana solar array will be atop GM’s 300,000 square foot warehouse facility and will become operational in December. It joins a similar sized solar installation at another GM Service and Parts Operations warehouse eight miles away in Rancho Cucamonga.
Constellation Energy and Project Services has partnered with GM and will design, build, own, and operate the Fontana solar array. GM has a long-term contract with Constellation to purchase electricity generated from the system. The solar array provides General Motors a clean, reliable source of energy from its rooftop, without an investment of its own money.
“At General Motors we understand that good environmental decisions are good business decisions and solar energy is a perfect example of this,” said Elizabeth A. Lowery, GM vice president, Environment, Energy and Safety Policy. ‘The new solar arrays on our rooftops are reducing our energy costs and carbon footprint, while providing green energy to the community.”
General Motors estimates that the solar array at its SPO facility in Fontana will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 355 metric tons each year, while reducing its electricity costs by about 10 percent a year.
“Reducing overall cost is important to our business” said Charlie Hyndman, GM SPO General Director of Warehousing and Distribution. “The solar panels in Fontana and Rancho Cucamonga will help us reduce costs and give our community access to solar power – it’s a win-win”.
The system will generate about 1.3 million kilowatt hours of electricity a year, about the amount needed to power 500 homes for one year. Electricity generated by the solar array
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not used by the GM facility will be fed back to the grid for sale to other area residents and businesses. During spring and fall, which are periods of high sunshine combined with low air conditioning needs, the system will generate extra electricity for the grid.
“As a member of WRI’s Green Power Market Development Group, GM has been a valuable partner in demonstrating the business case for using renewable energy. GM is one of the leading users of solar electricity in both the US and Europe,” said Alexander Perera, director, Green Power Market Development Group.
General Motors partners in the project are United Solar Ovonic, which manufacturers the thin film solar laminates used in the system; Developing Energy Efficient Roof Systems (DEERS), and Constellation Energy and Product Services.
Subhendu Guha, president and chief operating officer of United Solar Ovonic, said: “This is our second installation for GM after the 1 mega watt solar installation in Rancho Cucamonga. We are gratified, of course, that Uni-Solar panels are the product of choice for GM and for a growing list of corporations advancing the increased use of renewable energy.”
General Motors is one of the largest users of renewable energy in the United States. General Motors (GM) received the Corporate Energy Management of the Year Award from the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) in August. The award recognizes the company’s worldwide leadership in energy efficiency and renewable energy.
"Today’s announcement links to GM’s larger advanced technology strategy that supports the use of alternative energy for our vehicles,” said Lowery. “GM believes alternative energy sources that reduce dependency on oil and advanced technologies that improve fuel economy and reduce emissions are keys to developing sustainable transportation. GM continues to improve the internal combustion engine with advanced technologies and the use of alternative fuels like ethanol. GM is also committed to producing electrically-propelled vehicles that help diversify energy sources, reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency.”
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