The Ford Motor Company, Detroit Edison and Xtreme Power are to work with the state of Michigan to establish one of the largest solar power generation systems in the state at Ford’s Michigan Assembly plant. The power generated by the system will be used in the production of Ford’s fuel-efficient small cars.
A secondary, smaller solar energy system will be integrated at a later date to power lighting systems at Michigan Assembly. The combined systems are expected to give Michigan Assembly the largest solar power array in Michigan and save an estimated US$160,000 per year in energy costs. The installation of the system will begin in late 2010.
“With this solar energy system, we will be able to gain vital understanding about the integration of renewable power, smart-grid technologies and energy storage at an industrial facility,” said Jim Tetreault, Ford vice president of North America manufacturing. “This project is a part of the transformation of Michigan Assembly from a large SUV factory to a modern, flexible, small car plant.”
Ford will work with Detroit Edison to install a 500kW system at Michigan Assembly, integrated with a 750kW energy storage facility that can store two million watt-hours of energy using batteries.
The Michigan Assembly project is made possible by a US$3 million investment by Detroit Edison’s SolarCurrents program, a US$2 million grant from the Michigan Public Service Commission in support of the state’s smart-grid initiative, and approximately US$800,000 from Ford.
“Our partnership with Ford is just the latest example of how our companies have worked together to power the economic engine of Southeast Michigan,” said Trevor Lauer, Detroit Edison vice president, marketing and renewables. “Building solar energy systems on the scale we’re pursuing will increase demand for these technologies, and we’re working with the governor’s office and various economic development organizations to attract renewable energy manufacturers and green jobs to Michigan.”
“We share a commitment with Ford to fostering an environmentally sustainable model of energy use in the U.S., and this joint project is indicative of just how far we’ve come,” said Carlos Coe, CEO, Xtreme Power. “We are proud to work together to help transform vehicle manufacturing into a sustainable process powered by clean, renewable energy.”
The Michigan installation is part of Detroit Edison’s pilot SolarCurrents program that calls for photovoltaic systems to be installed on customer rooftops or property over the next five years to generate 15MW of electricity throughout Southeast Michigan.