Wednesday, September 8, 2010
The World’s Largest Rooftop Solar Installation 12 Megawatts of Power
Solar power is being increasingly used all over the world as a source of clean, renewable energy. In an effort to increase its renewable energy resources, General Motors has recently made it known that the biggest rooftop solar photovoltaic power installation will be set up on its Zaragoza automobile assembly plant.
This plant, in Figueruelas, Zaragoza, Spain, will have approximately 85,000 solar panels, covering a rooftop area of around 2,000,000 square feet. General Motors estimates that the set up will be complete by the autumn of this year, and will generate something like 15.1 million kWh of power a year. That’s about how much 4,575 Spanish homes with an average yearly consumption of 3,300 kWh will use.
Glad to take the lead in using renewable energy, the Group Vice President of Global Manufacturing and Labor Relations, General Motors, Gary Cowger said, “The Zaragoza project demonstrates proof that GM is actively accelerating our efforts to be part of the solution to the environmental issues and challenges facing our world. We are proud to be a global leader in the usage of renewable energy.”
At present, the General Motors Company already has two of the biggest rooftop solar power installations in the United States of America. Both these installations are in California ““ one in their parts warehouse in Rancho Cucumonga and another in their parts warehouse in Fontana. The Rancho Cucumonga installation was set up in the autumn of 2006 and was the first public solar project over one mega watt in the country. Here, about half the power requirements of the parts warehouse is met by solar energy. The Fontana installation was set up in December 2007 and offers an annual output of approximately 1.3 million kilowatt hours of electricity ““ that’s about how much power 200 homes will consume in a year.
The General Motors Vice President for Environment, Energy and Safety Policy, Elizabeth A. Lowery explains GM’s stance. “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. 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,” she says.
As far as the Spanish Zaragoza installation is concerned, General Motors is working in collaboration with the Government of Aragon, Clairvoyant Energy and Veolia Environmental to expand their consumption of renewable energy. The thin film flexible solar laminates required for the installation will be UNI-SOLAR(R: 70.08, +2.97, +4.42%), manufactured by United Solar Ovonic. The installation will be created, owned and operated by Veolia Environment and Clairvoyant Energy, who will lease the rooftop area from General Motors. Not only will the Zaragoza rooftop solar power installation cut costs for General Motors, it will also ease the power burden on the local power grid.
David Hardee, the CEO of Clairvoyant Energy is pleased with the project and its implications. “Clairvoyant Energy is delighted to be working with GM as we share their vision of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Our company goal is to create a variety of solar electricity solutions as compared to fossil fuel electricity processes by 2014 and the way to get there is through lower costs and higher efficiency.”
Global industry leader in a world leader in environmental services, Veolia Environment will be involved in the engineering, construction, approval and system operations maintenance of the installation.
General Motors is certainly thinking green. The company is also one of the major consumers of landfill gas in America. This gas, which is produced as waste decomposes, is used by GM at their assembly plants in Fort Wayne, Shreveport and Orion and three other facilities, saving a quantity of energy equal to the annual energy needed to heat 25,000 households. GM gets an annual saving of over $5 million with their landfill gas set up.
General Motors with an NYSE standing of 10.78, +0.54, +5.27% has been a world leader in auto sales for nearly 80 years. The company was started in 1908 and now has a 266,000 strong team. Last year, GM sold almost 9.37 million Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Vauxhall and Wuling cars. OnStar, GM’s subsidiary, are experts in vehicle safety, security and information services.