GM to power warehouse with solar energy
DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Corp said on Thursday it will add one of the largest solar power installations in corporate use at a warehouse in California, generating half the electricity needed to run the 300,000-square-foot (28,000-square-meter) facility.
The automaker said it has partnered with a subsidiary of Constellation Energy, which will design, build, own and operate the solar array on the roof of a GM service and parts operation warehouse in Fontana, about 60 miles east of Los Angeles.
The solar-powered array, which will become operational in December, will feed enough extra electricity back to the grid to power more than 300 homes for a year, GM said in a statement.
GM said this is its second solar installation, following one at another warehouse in Rancho Cucamonga, about eight miles from Fontana. The automaker has been making strides in being perceived as environment-friendly.
GM has been demonstrating how it is investing some of the $9 billion saved through a wrenching program of job cuts and plant closures in technology, including hybrids. The automaker is planning to produce an electric plug-in vehicle by late 2010.
"We understand that good environmental decisions are good business decisions," Elizabeth Lowery, GM vice president of environment, energy and safety policy, said.
"The new solar arrays on our rooftops are reducing our energy costs and carbon footprint, while providing green energy to the community."
GM estimates that the solar array will reduce its electricity costs by about 10 percent a year, as the automaker tries to return to profitability after losing more than $10 billion in the past two years.
"Reducing overall cost is important to our business," said Charlie Hyndman, general director of warehousing and distribution. "The solar panels...will help us reduce costs and give our community access to solar power - it's a win-win."
The system will generate about 1.3 million kilowatt hours of electricity a year, GM said.
GM has also partnered with United Solar Ovonic, a division of Energy Conversion Devices, which makes the film solar laminates used in the system.
(Reporting by Jui Chakravorty)