General Motors announced it will double its use of solar energy at it manufacturing plants around the world by the end of 2015.
And its venture capital arm, General Motors Ventures, announced a $7.5 million investment in commercial solar developer Sunlogics to do that. Sunlogics develops and operates commercial solar systems in the US, Canada, and Europe.
"The investment in Sunlogics allows GM to strategically partner with a leading solar developer and operator that can help GM drive the use of solar, specifically large-scale solar installations at our facilities," says Jon Lauckner, president of GM Ventures.
Most people aren’t aware that GM leads the auto industry in its use of renewable energy. It has three of the largest automotive rooftop solar installations in the US and the world’s largest at its car assembly plant in Zaragoza, Spain. Additionally, GM has started construction on a new solar field at its Detroit-Hamtramck facility and completed construction on a solar array on top of its Baltimore Operations facility.
"Our GM facilities currently house 30 megawatts (MW) of solar power, and we are committing today to double that capacity to 60 MW over the next few years, which is equivalent to powering 10,000 homes annually," says Mike Robinson, GM vice president of Energy, Environment & Safety Policy. "Not only does renewable energy make good business sense, it helps us continue to reduce the impact our facilities have on the environment."
GM also signed commercial agreements with Sunlogics for the installation of solar charging canopies at Chevrolet dealerships and GM facilities that will support the continued rollout of the Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle.
And GM signed a power purchase agreement for Sunlogics to install and own large-scale solar arrays at GM facilities.
GM says the investment will create 310 solar energy jobs. Sunlogics intends to use some of the funds to establish its corporate headquarters and open a manufacturing facility in suburban Detroit, and to set up a manufacturing facility in Ontario.