Future of renewable energy is bright in Michigan

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General Motors recently made a commitment to make 100 percent of their facilities worldwide powered by renewable energy by 2050. With the unveiling of their solar array at their Warren Transmission plant today, they took one more step toward that goal.

The company now has 24 solar arrays around the world, 16 of which are in the US. The 900-kilowatt solar array in Warren, built in partnership with DTE Energy, is their largest in the state of Michigan.

“Our efforts are multiplied when we find partners who share our commitment to serving society by reducing our environmental impact,” said Rob Threlkeld, GM’s global manager of renewable energy. “That’s why we are proud to work with DTE Energy on this solar array. Collaborations help us increase the use of renewable energy in Michigan, reduce carbon emissions and meet shared sustainability objectives.”

Threkeld was quick to point out these efforts are more than just a feel good story, they contribute to the company’s bottom line. As a company, General Motors has saved nearly $80 million as a result of their renewable energy efforts dating back to 1993.

For DTE Energy, solar arrays like this one are part of a larger plan to generate electricity cleaner, more diversified energy portfolio. Since 2009, the company has invested more than $2 billion in renewable technologies, and $67 million of that has been in solar. In addition to this project, constructions of solar arrays in Detroit and in Lapeer are underway. By early next year, DTE Energy will own or operate 31 solar arrays.

“All this activity says one thing to me, Michigan’s energy future is very bright,” said Irene Dimitry, vice president of business and development for DTE Energy.

A few facts about the solar array at GM’s Warren Transmission plant:

  • There are 2,862 solar panels on the 4.25 acre site
  • The array has enough solar panels to cover the ice surface of the Joe Louis arena 3 times.
  • It will generate approximately 1.2 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year, the equivalent of the annual electric needs for 155 homes
  • This is the largest solar array on a GM property in Michigan