SunEdison to install rooftop PV system on General Motors’ plant


SunEdison will finance, install, operate, and maintain a 1.2-MW solar PV system on the rooftop of General Motors’ White Marsh, MD, powertrain assembly plant. When the 8700-panel system goes online in the third quarter of 2009, it will be one of the largest rooftop solar installations on the US East Coast, occupying about 300,000 square feet.

GM says that the array will be capable of generating approximately 1.4 million kilowatt-hours of energy annually, enough to displace about 20% of the plant’s power currently bought from the local utility.

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The Maryland installation marks the fourth major deployment of solar PV systems on GM facilities. The company plans to put a massive 12-MW array on its Zaragoza, Spain factory, with some 85,000 panels covering nearly 2 million square feet of rooftop. Smaller, 1-MW systems are already operational on the top of a pair of parts warehouses in Fontana and Rancho Cucamonga, located in Southern California’s Inland Empire area.

Although all three installations incorporate Uni-Solar’s amorphous-silicon thin-film laminate modules, GM and SunEdison sources could not confirm whether the decision has been made on which company’s panels will be used for the Maryland job. SunEdison recently signed a five-year development deal with Q-Cells, in which the German company will supply SunEdison with up to 800 MW of silicon and thin-film modules and will jointly develop and operate solar systems in North America.  

GM spokesman Dan Flores told PV-Tech that although there’s “nothing specific at this time on [possible] future solar installations” on GM facilities in the United States, “we’re looking for locations where we can use renewable energy sources.” He added that the company has a major initiative in manufacturing to look for ways to reduce environmental impact. 

— Tom Cheyney


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