gm complex solar array
General Motors is in the middle of installing a new solar array at its Lordstown Complex in Lordstown, Ohio. The 8,500 solar panel installation should be complete by the end of 2014, when it is expected to generate 2.2 megawatts (2,200 kilowatts) of electricity. The array is large enough to supply approximately 1.5% of the plants power needs, and will help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1,993 tons. To put the plants power usage into perspective, an average home can pull a maximum 24,000 watts (24 kilowatts, or 0.024 megawatts) before blowing its main breaker, and would usually pull much less.
General Motors has more solar installations than any other automotive company, and when complete the Lordstown array will be GM’s largest solar installation in the western hemisphere. Just last year GM announced a 1.8 megawatt solar array on the roof of their Toledo Transmission facility in Toledo, Ohio. That array is currently the largest in the state (and will most likely remain the largest until it is surpassed by the Lordstown array), and is capable of producing enough energy to power 149 homes.
General Motors also has large solar installations in other countries, including one at their Zaragoza, Spain assembly plant that was the world’s largest industrial rooftop solar installation until 2012. That array is capable of generating up to 12 megawatts of solar electricity.
Last year GM was named a “Solar Champion” by the Solar Energy Industry Association, and this year marks their second consecutive year on the list of top 25 corporate users of solar power in the United States. The Lordstown project is part of their company goal of having 125 megawatts of renewable energy deployed globally by 2015, which they are on track to meet.
According to GM global manager of renewable energy Rob Threlkeld, “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.”