General Motors To Build Large Solar Array

Sept. 17, 2007
New array to power half of the electricity for Calif. SPO warehouse; business arrangement blurs the distinctions between energy user and supplier

General Motors (GM) announced today it is adding one of the largest solar power installations in corporate use in the U.S. to the roof of its Service and Parts Operations (SPO) warehouse in Fontana, Calif. The solar power array will provide about half of the electricity needed to run the facility.

The Fontana solar array will sit atop GMs 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.

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% a year.

The system will generate about 1.3 million kilowatt hours of electricity a year, about the amount needed to power 200 homes for one year. Electricity generated by the solar array 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.

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.

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