When you are a company who makes cars, unless you have the Toyota Prius underneath your brand name, life can sometimes get a little complex. Not surprisingly, many car manufacturers are making big steps to ensure that their products make as little impact upon the environment as possible. But General Motors have taken it a step further, to ensure that even their production plants make little environmental noise.
Currently with two of the largest solar power installations in the United States, GM have made a real effort to, as Gary Cowger, GM group vice president of Global Manufacturing and Labor Relations puts it, actively accelerate “…our efforts to be part of the solution to the environmental issues and challenges facing our world.”
Solar power installations line the roofs of GM’s Rancho Cucamonga and Fontana, California parts warehouses, with the former seeing about 50% of their electricity powered by their own installation. “We are proud to be a global leader in the usage of renewable energy,” said Cowger.
But GM has now taken it a step further in their attempt to be a “global leader,” announcing on Tuesday the plans to install the world’s largest rooftop solar photovoltaic power installation on its car assembly plant located in Figueruelas, Zaragoza, Spain. The project is set to install an installation that will cover some 2 million square foot of rooftop, comprised of approximately 85,000 solar panels.
“As we develop new solutions in vehicle propulsion to reduce carbon emissions, we are also making significant progress in reducing the impact our facilities have on the environment,” said Elizabeth A. Lowery, GM vice president, Environment, Energy and Safety Policy. “Our commitment to expanding the usage of renewable energy sources is part of our coordinated global effort to reduce energy, water consumption, waste and CO2 emissions.”
Partnering with Clairvoyant Energy, Veolia Environmental and the Government of Aragon to develop this project, United Solar Ovonic will provide their thin and flexible solar laminates for the project. A project which, by completion, will generate 12 megawatts of power at its highest output, equaling about 15.1 million kilowatts of power per year, the equivalent to some 4,575 households.
I’ve said it from the beginning of my tenure here at Green Options, and I will continue to say it along with many others: big business has to be the one to bring our planet in to an environmentally friendly age, whether it be politely or kicking and screaming. General Motors, in announcing this project, has shown just such an intention.
Photo © GM Corp
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