General Motors is in the midst of installing solar panels at Ohio’s Lordstown Complex, the plant where GM builds the Chevy Cruze.
General Motors said its new 2.2 megawatt ground-mounted solar array will be complete by the end of 2014. When the last of more than 8,500 solar panels are in place, it will be GM’s largest solar installation in the Western Hemisphere.
The renewable energy produced by the array is enough, according to GM, to power nearly 1.5 percent of the plant and helps avoid the equivalent of 1,993 tons of carbon dioxide emissions from entering the atmosphere. That is equivalent to the amount of carbon pulled from the air by 1,634 acres of U.S. forests in one year.
“With more solar installations than any other automotive company and the second-highest percentage of solar among all commercial users, GM shows that manufacturing and the use of renewable energy can go hand-in-hand.” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association.
Easily seen from the Ohio Turnpike, GM said the array will stand as a visual cue to the more than 49 million travelers who pass it each year that GM is committed to the use of solar power.
This solar install comes nearly one year after GM announced completion of the 1.8 megawatt solar array on the rooftop of GM’s Toledo Transmission facility, also in Ohio. GM stated that array is the largest rooftop array in the state, producing enough energy to power 149 homes for a year.
“You don’t often think of the Midwest when you think of ideal locations for solar, but reduced costs and increased utility rates have made sites like Lordstown and Toledo optimal locations to expand GM’s use of solar power,” said Rob Threlkeld, GM global manager of renewable energy.
With the Lordstown project, GM added it remains on track to meet a company goal of 125 megawatts of renewable energy deployed globally by 2015.