Laura K. Cowan

Chevy Volt Factory's New Solar Array Is Green, But Does It Save Green?

by , 05/13/11

Chevy Volt, Hamtramck assembly plant, Chevrolet Volt factory, solar power, Chevy Volt solar array, General Motors solar array, Detroit Edison solar currents, alternative energy, green transportation, alternative transportation, green automotive design

As part of its SolarCurrents program to encourage energy customers to install enough solar arrays to produce 15 megawatts of green electricity in southeast Michigan, Detroit Edison has invested $3 million in this 516-kilowatt solar array on the roof of the Chevrolet Volt factory in Detroit suburb Hamtramck. GM announced the measure will save the company $15,000 per year in energy costs and help further green the Volt. It’s not clear how much money DTE will save on the deal, however. The simple $15,000 per year savings would take 200 years to recoup with this investment, so there must be other savings at work in this 246,000-square-foot project that DTE has not mentioned.

Chevy Volt, Hamtramck assembly plant, Chevrolet Volt factory, solar power, Chevy Volt solar array, General Motors solar array, Detroit Edison solar currents, alternative energy, green transportation, alternative transportation, green automotive design

Also a little less than brag-worthy is GM’s statement that it is “one of the leading users of renewable energy in the manufacturing sector, deriving energy for manufacturing operations from solar, hydro, and landfill gas resources. In the United States alone, 1.4 percent of GM energy consumption comes from renewable resources.” Did you catch that? One point four percent. That has a ways to go, too, before the numbers impress anyone. Still, all baby steps in the right direction, and as energy costs rise this investment may prove to pay off sooner than expected.

+ GM

Via AutoBlog Green

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2 Comments

  1. caeman May 16, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Green is the new Greed.

  2. lazyreader May 13, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    If only after over 200 years the panels would still work. The panels will be obsolete in 10-15 years. For example, The Navy built a solar array across it’s parking lot at the cost of 1.9 million dollars (all Stimulus money). It’ll only save 30,000 dollars a year for them. Which means it will pay for it self after 63.3333 years (assuming they don’t spend those savings). If for instance they put the saved money in the bank to collect with interest. So say the payback could be under 40 years or so. But as for the panels, they’ll be obsolete in about 10 years. And removed after 15-20, Now you have to contract, pay and install new more modern ones and pay for the safe disposal of the old panels, as these high efficiency solar cells are made of gallium arsenide (arsenic compounds for all those who failed chemistry class) and germanium, not silicon. Don’t forget the cost of maintenance, cleaning and service. Where’s the cost saving. All it will do is generate only a fraction of the power needed to run the base. It’ll look good when politicians stand there to cut the ribbon. If GM wanted to save money why not buy a tri-generator. It generates electricity, heat (water), and air conditioning in one. Instead they spent stimulus money too on an otherwise useless solar device, instead why not focus on building and selling cars and paying back your debts.

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