What is it with Ford and its factory roofs? First in 2010, a 500-kw solar panel system was installed on the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich. where — coincidentally of course — the company’s range of electrified compact vehicles are assembled. Next, a living roof was installed on the World HQ building in 2012 after a 2,500 square-foot piece needed replacement.
Finally, today, Ford announced plans to offer an enormous solar carport, which would offer not only shade and protection to 360 vehicles, but also power 30 charging stations too. The final tally of 1.038 megawatts of electricity — enough to power 158 homes — and 1.13 million kilowatt hours annually will make it the largest solar array in Michigan. It would be the biggest in the mid-west, but apparently the one at the Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio is ahead with 1.1 megawatts.
“Our fundamental purpose as a company is to make people’s lives better,” said Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford. “We do that by creating outstanding products, by investing in communities where our employees live and work, and by using technology to tackle global sustainability challenges. Those beliefs are embodied in this project.”
The array will be built, maintained and managed by DTE Energy — the same company contracted to build Ford’s original solar array — for 20 years. Construction is slated to start in September and be completed in “early 2015.”
“The SolarCurrents canopy project is another example of how DTE Energy and Ford are working to build a more energy-efficient and sustainable future,” said Irene Dimitri, vice president of marketing and renewables at DTE Energy. “At the same time, this project will help us come closer to meeting Michigan’s renewable energy goals and diversify our energy portfolio.” DTE committed back in 2009 to work on generating 10 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2015.