Last week, General Motors announced it will add a 1.2 megawatt solar power installation to the roof of its transmission assembly plant in White Marsh, Md. When fully operational in the third quarter of 2009, the system will be one of the largest rooftop solar installations on the East Coast. The system will consist of more than 8,700 solar panels and will sit on approximately 300,000 square feet of roof space. The systems be deployed by SunEdison.
The installation will generate about 1.4 million kWh of clean renewable solar energy, which is equivalent to the demand of about 140-150 U.S. households with an average annual consumption of 10,000 kWh. Additionally, the installation will enable GM to displace about 20% of the plant's current power purchased from the local utility with a renewable energy resource, while reducing the plant's utility bill, according to a company statement.
The White Marsh plant reached landfill-free status in 2007, because it no longer sends any production waste to local landfills. All the waste generated at the facility is entirely recycled or reused. The Baltimore plant is GM's first global manufacturing facility to operate landfill-free and have a solar power installation.
The GM Powertrain Baltimore transmission plant builds the Allison A1000 six-speed automatic transmissions which are featured in the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickups. The plant built 189,000 of Allison A1000 six-speed transmissions in 2007. It also builds the Hybrid 2 mode transmission currently used in the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid and GMC Yukon Hybrid.
GM currently has two of the largest solar power installations in the U.S. on the roofs of its Rancho Cucamonga and Fontana, Calif. parts warehouses. Upon completion later this year, GM also will have the world's largest rooftop solar power installation at its Zaragoza, Spain car assembly plant.
"GM is 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 expanding commitment to renewable energy sources, like solar power, is part of our coordinated global effort to reduce energy use, water consumption, waste and CO2 emissions."
Additionally, GM is one of the largest corporate users of landfill gas in the U.S. Landfill gas is the natural by-product of the decomposition of solid waste in landfills. GM is one of the largest users of renewable energy as well. Last August General Motors received the Corporate Energy Management of the Year Award from the Association of Energy Engineers.