General Motors Partners With DTE On 800 kW Solar Array

OCT 28 2015 BY MARK KANE 27

2016 Chevrolet Volt - Now Getting 3.6 kW Boosts

2016 Chevrolet Volt

General Motors announced a new 800 kW solar project at its Warren Transmission plant, which will be the largest installation in Michigan.

Earlier, GM set a goal of 125 MW by 2020, so the 800 kW is another step in the longer journey, which as of today stands at 46 MW.

To achieve the goal by the end of 2020, GM would need to add, on average, more than 1 MW a month.

Warren Transmission plant is also the place supplying the drive units for the new 2016 Chevrolet Volt.

“The 2,800 solar panels will generate clean electricity that will go back to the grid. DTE Energy will own the array on 4.25 acres of land leased from GM.”

“The solar array will generate approximately 1 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year, the energy equivalent to powering the annual electricity needs of about 135 homes in southeast Michigan.”

“In addition to the solar array, Warren Transmission recently met the EPA ENERGY STAR® Challenge for Industry by reducing the energy intensity of the facility by 12.3 percent in just two years. The facility is also landfill-free, meaning it reuses, recycles or converts to energy all waste from daily operations.”

Rob Threlkeld, GM global manager of renewable energy said:

“By supporting this project and making renewable energy commitments globaly, we will surpass our goal to promote 125 megawatts of clean power by 2020. This new array, along with our solar array at the nearby GM Technical Center in Warren, makes GM’s commitment to clean energy visible to the Warren community.”

Irene Dimitry, vice president of business and development for DTE Energy said:

“DTE is proud to be the state’s largest investor in solar and wind. The GM Transmission partnership is part of a broader, long-term plan to move us toward a cleaner, more diversified energy portfolio.”

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27 Comments on "General Motors Partners With DTE On 800 kW Solar Array"

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…but hey, Kansas, a far sunnier state, couldn’t possibly benefit from EVs. Right, sven?

the only connection that i see in this article to electric vehicles is that the land on which the solar arrays will be located is also the location of a supply plant for the chevrolet volt.

Well there is one more connection: The more solar modules are installed the cleaner the elecricity in the whole grid becomes, thereby directly reducing the carbon footprint of each electric vehicle. With growing percentage of solar electricity in the grid, those people always mocking that ev’s are not clean due to coal generated electricity will loose further ground with their arguments. Nonetheless I would also appreciaty if GM would also promote vehicle to grid, as that would increase the possibilites for net integration of photovoltaics by huge means. Imagine a household with 10000 kWh of annual consumption: 15-20 kWp of solar production 2×10 kWh home storage a V2G capable GM Volt and a V2G capable Tesla. Such a household could go OFF-GRID quite easily. With a more “european” electricity consumption of let’s say 4000 kWh the OFF-GRID option is already in reach with 12 kWp solar panels, only one 10 kWh home storage unit and one V2G ready car with a battery size of let’s say 60 kWh. Not to imagine the households with less-than-average energy consumption… 😉 In fact I am quite disappointed that Tesla did not go the whole way, but stopped way too early: Offering a quite… Read more »

So that’ll be

“yes the link is the transmission plant for the volt.”

I have no issue with that, it’s not like people interested in ev’s don’t like solar.

+1 … a turnkey package from Tesla would/will be a brilliant idea.

I hope that drawing is not accurate. Put the PV panels on the roof of the plant or over the parking lot!

+1 PV should be roof mounted in all areas where people live or work. While roof mounted modules are more expensive in the first place they reduce heating/cooling needs for the building and can also reduce wear and tear of the roof (depending on the configuration) In non-populated areas especially in desert-like areas ground mounted solar panels could be a way to counteracts desertification as they reduce ground wind speed and soil/sand temperatures and therefor evaporation by a two way approach. Learning from the people in the netherlands who took back land from the water, that could be a way to take back land from the desert. Just put a lot of solar-panels out there in the desert and plant nitrogen-fixating plants into the sand. Shadow and wind-protection from the PV-Modules will mainly do the rest. Maybe water storage will be needed in the first place until water storage capacity of the sand/soil has increased sufficently. However that would be a long-term project (>20 years) and few people are easy to convince that those projects are worth the investment. However it would be a nice playground for terraforming-research 😉 Generating biomass in place would be a good practice for future… Read more »

As a caveat, existing long-time desserts have a sensitive ecosystem that might be harmed/disrupted by a large-scale commercial solar plant, such as the proposed solar plant in the Mohave Desert in the link below.

as the article states, the solar panel array takes up 4.25 acres.

Google satellite image shows a lot of roofs, car parking & some land, but no PV panels so far.
There appears to be a (staff?) large car park between the road & the building:,-83.042421,279m/data=!3m1!1e3
Let’s hope GM builds solar canopies in the car park with chargers for EVs.
The roof of the factory looks old and might slope east-west, so not ideal.

Across the road is the huge Chrysler Warren stamping plant & truck assembly plant.
I guess it will be a while before Sergio gets round to bolting PV panels on his roof.

Pfft. Sergio is too busy evaluating whether there is any tight oil under the Warren Plant to make it worthwhile to frack a couple of wells, than to be bothered with installing a solar array on the plant’s roof. 😉

Sergio might prefer the rooftop muscle car as a corporate image:

How is this the biggest in MI? DTE and Ford just installed a 1.038MW system at the Ford World Headquarters which is the biggest in MI. It is actually the second largest in the Midwest, only behind the 1.1MW facility at the Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio. You can’t say it will be the biggest when that depends on future expansion.

While I like solar in general, 4.25 acres of land? From pictures, it looks like that land will be dedicated, not shared like with rooftop.

800kW = 1066 Horsepower = about 4 Hyundai Sonatas

Considering solar is roughly 1/3 of the day, that’s 1.33 Hyundais. Using 4.25 acres???

Far better would be to put them on rooftops or share with other land use.

SparkEv, you just spark a mistake here.
4 Hyundai Sonata won’t put 1 066 h.p.
(Although 800 kW = 1 072.386 h.p.)
If Hyundai as any truth in their information, discarding the eco one, their base model has 185 h.p. and the top one has 245 h.p. with twin turbo and stuff.
So you would need almost 6 bases model or 4.377 with twin turbo running full power to give you that power.
But at full blast it would consume about 30 gallons/hour or more and, if they last that long running half the time or the same as the solar array, it would pollute on a 25 years span the equivalent of a city of 50 000 people.
I don’t thing it’s a winning proposal.

You miss the point entirely, but you do validate that you need less than 2 Hyundai level power (1088 HP / 3 = 362 HP).

Point being, wasting over 4 acres to produce power less than 2 Hyundai is highly wasteful, and that rooftop and other combined use would be better for solar.

Imagine if you use 0.05 Acre for combined cycle gas generator and plant trees in 4.2 acres, that would be more benefical, and probably lot cheaper, too. One can also use part of CO2 output into local greenhouses.

You need a lot of land for solar, that’s just the nature of the technology. It’s called a “solar farm” for a reason. Why not farm on a spare bit of industrial waste land? It’s not like you can economically produce anything else on that land. Planting trees would be great but won’t produce any power. A gas CHP would produce a lot of power but also require a lot of maintenance and cost a lot to fuel. Solar it getting to the point where it is almost making sense from a pure $ and cents perspective. Especially if you have land that might otherwise need to be cleaned up before being repurposed.

I wasn’t challenging that point at all Spark.
I totally agree that this is bad use of land.
You just keep doing mistake with your calculation and emphasized on these faulty result.
Not counting the generator efficiency that would have to get you a bit more output from those motors.
Where do you get 362 h.p in a Hyundai Sonata BTW?
Don’t look, those power output isn’t available in that model, maybe you meant Hyundai Genesis but still my point is that you would need those motor to run at full blast and it would produce so much pollution that it wouldn’t be a valuable alternative.
Instead, we probably share the value of using existing premise without using any more space or land.

So now we have solar advocates criticizing how others are doing solar. Sometimes you just can’t please people!

So you wouldn’t object to covering the Amazon rain forest with solar panels and killing everything underneath? There’s some line we all draw, and I happen to draw it when it’s more wasteful than necesary. I mean, 2 Hyundais worth of power taking 4.25 acres?

It might be better to have 2 Hyundais in 0.05 acres and plant trees in rest of 4.2 acres of land.

Covering the Amazon rain forest with solar panels? You jumped from 4 acres of midwest prairie to the entire Amazon rain forest? What kind of argument is that?

Argument is that we all draw a line somewhere.

the amazon would be the worst place to put solar panels. with all (or should i say “the remaining”) tree cover in the amazon, you would get next to no productivity out of solar panels that would be perpetually under shade. so your “line” is so far-fetched that it isn’t practical.

Go back and read my post. My line is not solar in Amazon.

Far fetched? With all the clearing going on for farming? If solar in land get lucrative enough, they’ll start clearing Amazon to put solar panels.

We share the expertise we’ve gained working with solar. Is that a bad thing? I think not.

No, it’s not a bad thing. But it did sound more like GM bashing than anything really productive.