Wednesday, February 11, 2009

General Motors & Solar Power

Quick -- who owns the two largest rooftop solar stations in the US? If you guessed General Motors (yup, the car company), you'd be correct. Not content with that, General Motors also has the world's largest rooftop source of power from the sun at its plant in Spain. Who knew!

In the U.S., their rooftop stations are located atop warehouse facilities in both Fontana and Rancho Cucamonga, California, and have been operational for a couple of years now. Electricity generated by the solar array, but not used by the GM facilities, is fed back into the electrical grid for sale to other area residents and businesses. During spring and fall, which in California are periods of high sunshine combined with low air conditioning needs, the system will generate extra electricity for the grid.

Last summer, GM began installing 85,000 solar panels on top of its Zaragoza plant in Spain, covering over 2 million square feet. These will provide over 10 megawatts of power from a renewable energy source that will not only be used by the factory (responsible for over 480,000 vehicles) but also by the local power grid.

Providing "green" energy to the local community's power grid -- and I thought GM just made cars.

Interested in the field of green technology and wondering what areas it might encompass? A good place to start is Chicago's Center for Green Technology.

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