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Published on June 30th, 2014 | by Nicholas Brown


GM To Install 3 Acres Of Solar Panels In Michigan

June 30th, 2014 by  

In an effort to utilize renewable energy more and save money, General Motors (GM) will install three acres of photovoltaic solar panels at two of its facilities in Michigan. These facilities are in Flint and Swartz Creek, and will each be equipped with a 150 kW array of solar panels. They are expected to collectively generate 400,000 kWh annually. That is equivalent to the energy consumption of 25 homes.

solar carports

SunPower solar carports at West Sonoma County Union High School District.

These arrays, which were mentioned in Boston during the annual PV America East Expo, are ground-mounted solar canopies which provide shade. Solar canopies are an old, but brilliant idea because they not only make GM’s use of solar panels somewhat noticeable (which is good for PR), whoever parks under these arrays will appreciate it and they will help their vehicle interiors to last longer (I have seen multiple car interiors destroyed quickly just from sitting in sunny driveways).

According to GM-Volt.com, GM explained OnStar and energy service company TimberRock Energy Solutions, Inc. partnered to use aggregation software and solar charging canopies with integrated storage to manage the flow of solar power to benefit the electric grid, operated by PJM Interconnection.

Ever since our first solar array in 2006, GM has realized the benefits of renewable energy, said Rob Threlkeld, GM global renewable energy manager. Not only does it reduce our emissions and lessen our dependence on petroleum, it makes a statement about the role businesses can play in securing a cleaner energy future.

Agreed. Proof of concept that solar panels can work for big businesses is popping up everywhere (on the roofs of Walmart and IKEA, for example).

People have a tendency to wait for someone else to try major investments before they do. That enables them to learn from other peoples’ mistakes without bearing the potentially high cost of failure.

Solar canopies are not a risky investment. The cost and performance of the canopies can be verified long before construction has begun, my point is that proof of concept really helps the solar industry to move forward. More solar success stories leads to increased confidence in solar power. 

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About the Author

writes on CleanTechnica, Gas2, Kleef&Co, and Green Building Elements. He has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is: Kompulsa.com.

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