May 12

Chevrolet Volt assembly plant begins construction of solar panel arrays

 

Adding to its already having been declared a Michigan Clean Corporate Citizen, yesterday the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant broke ground on a solar panel field to help power the facility.

The 264,000 square-foot, 516-kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) array in a six-acre field will be the largest in Southeastern Michigan. GM quantified its energy output as “capable of charging 150 of the electric cars with extended-range capability every day for a year – a total of 54,750 Volts.”

The $3 million array will be owned and operated by DTE Energy under its SolarCurrents program, and should be completed by the end of this summer. DTE’s pilot project intends over the next five years to install PV systems on other Southeastern Michigan rooftops, and at educational and business locations.


Already equipped with a number of environmental measures, the Volt-producing Detroit-Hamtramck Plant is becoming greener as we speak.

In all, DTE Energy’s regional, multi-location solar project is expected to generate 15 megawatts of solar electricity for Southeastern Michigan.

As for GM’s piece of this project on its six acres at DHAM, the dollar figure attached to its energy output is an estimated $15,000 annually over a 20-year easement agreement.

The DHAM facility was chosen to receive PV first of all, because it has the space, GM said, and because it is home to the advanced-tech Volt.

“This array will significantly decrease energy consumption by combining solar power with ongoing efficiency tactics such as lighting and equipment upgrades and automating equipment shut-down,” said Bob Ferguson, vice president of GM Public Policy. “Making sustainable choices is good for both the environment and our bottom line. Obviously cost savings is critical for GM, and the ability to save $15,000 per year while being environmental serves us well.”

GM said the PV panels will face true south to maximize solar energy output, and these add to other environmental considerations already in existence at the plant.

These include a 16.5-acre certified wildlife habitat and an oxidizer that was voluntarily installed to reduce carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide emissions.


A rendering of the proposed solar panels for Detroit-Hamtramck.

As Ferguson alluded to, the company also estimated it will save an about $3 million per year through efficient lighting upgrades and other energy efficiency projects.

Company-wide, GM said 1.4 percent of its U.S. plants’ energy consumption comes from renewable resources, and it is one of the leading users of renewable energy in the manufacturing sector.

In addition to solar, the company also derives energy for manufacturing operations from hydro, and landfill gas resources.

GM’s long-term alternative energy investments are more than a feel-good exercise, it said. They also are good business decisions.

In other news surrounding the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, GM CEO Dan Akerson announced a couple days ago it is one of 17 GM facilities that will receive new employees out of 4,200 total new hires going to eight states. The question is how many will go to Detroit-Hamtramck, and will that mean more Volt production?

“Clearly, we will play a part in that,” plant manager Teri Quigley said, “How big, I don’t know.”

One Detroit paper reported almost half of the new hires will go to DHAM, particularly for Malibu production and possibly Volt production.


The Detroit-Hamtramck Plant already has a solar-powered canopy charging station.

We will wait and see what concrete information we can learn, however, as false reports about increased production at the plant have already been made in recent months.

What is certain is the newly profitable GM is ramping up its company-wide production capabilities, and with the new solar arrays at the The Detroit-Hamtramck Plant, committing one more step toward its long term environmental policy.

“We strive to reduce the impact our facilities have on the environment,” Ferguson said, “and Detroit-Hamtramck continues to make progress in sustainability.”

GM

This entry was posted on Thursday, May 12th, 2011 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 58


  1. 1
    Ted in Fort Myers

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    May 12th, 2011 (6:06 am)

    The solar charging station really works at the D’Ham Plant. I charged my Volt there while I took the tour inside the plant. Teri Quigley was very cordial and treated us like royalty. For a minute I thought I was Barach Obama. She still owes me a Chevrolet Volt Golf shirt that was promised the day of the tour. Teri I still love the car.

    Take Care, TED
    Volt #1506


  2. 2
    nasaman

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    May 12th, 2011 (6:55 am)

    I just read about the US DOE’s comprehensive “SunShot” program*, recently announced by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu to reduce the cost of solar energy systems by 75% before 2020. If that 75% reduction would apply to small scale systems, a system that costs $8,000 today would presumably cost only about $2,000 within nine years. At this cost, electricity would be essentially FREE (if not an outright income stream) for an average homeowner! Thanks for helping to start this ball rolling at DHAM, GM!

    *The name “SunShot” (like “MoonShot”) suggests DOE sees this program as a BIG DEAL —I hope so!


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    Schmeltz

     

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    May 12th, 2011 (8:04 am)

    I was feeling good about reading this news until I saw the cost savings of only $15000 a year. I mean, the solar array itself will probably cost millions of dollars to install alone, and it’s only providing a $15000/year savings??? Am I reading this wrong? Then the article goes on to say that GM is also implementing lighting changes to yeild a $3,000,000/year savings—now you’re getting somewhere. Someone please correct me here, but it looks like the solar isn’t going to cut it if cost savings is the goal. I’d be happy to be wrong.


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    kdawg

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    May 12th, 2011 (8:24 am)

    “In all, it is expected to generate 15 megawatts of solar electricity for Southeastern Michigan.”
    —————-

    That’s pretty amazing considering how cloudy it is in Michigan. I think PV technology has improved enough that you can still get a significant amount of energy on a cloudy day.


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    kdawg

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    May 12th, 2011 (8:27 am)

    “by combining solar power with ongoing efficiency tactics such as lighting and equipment upgrades and automating equipment shut-down,”
    ———————
    I’m trying to get our plant to upgrade its lighting. LED is the most efficient, and costs have really come down. I know lots of plants we provide equipment for have the automatic shutdown. Its basically a timer that if nothing’s happening for x-amount of time, turn the motors off. Sort of like in a car, turning off the engine at stop lights or turning off cylinders when not needed.


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    Randy

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    May 12th, 2011 (8:36 am)

    Schmeltz: I was feeling good about reading this news until I saw the cost savings of only $15000 a year.I mean, the solar array itself will probably cost millions of dollars to install alone, and it’s only providing a $15000/year savings???Am I reading this wrong?Then the article goes on to say that GM is also implementing lighting changes to yeild a $3,000,000/year savings—now you’re getting somewhere.Someone please correct me here, but it looks like the solar isn’t going to cut it if cost savings is the goal.I’d be happy to be wrong.

    I come up with a 200 year payback at $15000 Yr for $3Mil 200Yrs?


  7. 7
    Dave K.

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    May 12th, 2011 (8:41 am)

    Watch for a pop on oil prices…

    Associated Press Diaa Hadid, Associated Press – 45 mins ago

    TRIPOLI, Libya – NATO airstrikes struck Moammar Gadhafi’s sprawling compound in Tripoli and three other sites early Thursday, hours after the Libyan leader was shown on state TV in his first appearance since his son was killed nearly two weeks ago.

    Explosions thundered across the capital and wailing ambulances raced through the city as the last missile exploded.


  8. 8
    Matt

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    May 12th, 2011 (8:44 am)

    I want to know why the heck they are putting the array in the middle of a perfectly good field instead of on the roof of the plant. It’s certainly big enough.


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    Rashiid Amul

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    May 12th, 2011 (8:47 am)

    nasaman: I just read about the US DOE’s comprehensive “SunShot” program*, recently announced by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu to reduce the cost of solar energy systems by 75% before 2020. If that 75% reduction would apply to small scale systems, a system that costs $8,000 today would presumably cost only about $2,000 within nine years. At this cost, electricity would be essentially FREE (if not an outright income stream) for an average homeowner! Thanks for helping to start this ball rolling at DHAM, GM!

    *The name “SunShot” (like “MoonShot”) suggests DOE sees this program as a BIG DEAL —I hope so!

    Thanks Nasaman. I hadn’t heard of this.
    This has the potential of being really huge. Let’s hope it includes small scale use.


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    crew

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    May 12th, 2011 (8:51 am)

    Let’s see if I have this right. The DTE project for this site will cost $3 million and have an output of 516 kw. We don’t know how much this project involvement will cost GM but it will save $15k each year for the next 2 decades. Hmmm.
    Although the numbers leave me scratching my head, I have to applaud the use of the sun above anything else. The “SunShot” initiative is another step that has me thinking about the short term costs for this project. Above these costs, again, I cheer for the ultimate more widespread use of the sun!

    I’m not sure if this is effective enough to micromanage a grid that will need help in proportion to EV use, but it sure is a great leap forward in decreasing end user PV electricity generation costs.

    Are we deflecting the true costs too much?

    As Volt enthusiasts, we have a front row seat to viewing the changes that will be coming in not just our transportation in cars, but the transformation of the power that turns a lot of this country’s business wheels.

    I have to think that, in America, these programs and others like them are a great leap forward in creating renewable energy in our own back yards. But I also want think globally, and most importantly, will other manufacturing heavy countries do the same?


  11. 11
    Dan Petit

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    May 12th, 2011 (9:33 am)

    There are lots of way to get solar established on a property, especially if you are able to agree on a twenty year contract for the placement of the array. You are investing with a third investing party. You, the electric company that buys the power, and the actual owner of the panels, mountings, inverters, and other hardware.

    It is all in the way that it is contractually set up, and, the investment really is in the usage of your land. You make the payments on the property, a third party does all the rest regarding site feasibility, generation potentials, maintenance of the panels, etc. I am not sure about the insuring of the panels, but that is another topic.

    Many forward thinking utilities help out greatly with this type of arrangement. Alleviating loads at the fringes of their service areas is an enormous help to reducing the wear and tear on everything in between as far as infrastructure is concerned. Lots of these insights were pioneered by very forward thinking “green city” utility managers. One of whom is a very good friend of mine.

    So. while the relationships between the numbers and watts may not be readily apparent in the thread topic, you can really bet that innovative business people who are really dedicated and thoroughly understand the physics and economics of solar, are in fact making it all work extremely well between the three parties.


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    kdawg

     

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    May 12th, 2011 (9:47 am)

    I’m not sure how it only save’s them $15K/year. They must have a very cheap rate for electricity, or they are assuming a lot of maintenance cost? If we use typical consumer rates, it costs $1/day to charge a Volt, and if you charge 150 of them x 365 days/year, that would be $54,750 in electricity/year.


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    Loboc

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    May 12th, 2011 (9:55 am)

    Dave K.: Watch for a pop on oil prices…

    Associated Press Diaa Hadid, Associated Press – 45 mins ago

    TRIPOLI, Libya – NATO airstrikes struck Moammar Gadhafi’s sprawling compound in Tripoli and three other sites early Thursday, hours after the Libyan leader was shown on state TV in his first appearance since his son was killed nearly two weeks ago.

    Explosions thundered across the capital and wailing ambulances raced through the city as the last missile exploded.

    Oil is in a downward spiral due to lack of perceived demand. Any trouble in Libya is already factored into the price since they haven’t been shipping for months.

    Even so, I think that oil will go up in the long run. It pretty much has to unless we (the US) do something drastic about our usage.

    One problem is that below $4/gallon, alternatives don’t make economic sense. Gasoline is still comparatively cheap for what you get in energy content.


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    May 12th, 2011 (9:57 am)

    I think this is the DTE’s manufacturing rates… but not sure. It’s kind of lawyer-mumbo-jumbo-ish…
    ———–
    RATE SCHEDULE NO. D7 SPECIAL MANUFACTURING SUPPLY RATE
    AVAILABILITY OF SERVICE: Available to customers desiring service at primary, sub-transmission, or transmission voltage who took service under a Special Manufacturing Contract during 2004.
    HOURS OF SERVICE: 24 hours, subject to interruption by agreement, or by advance notice.
    CURRENT, PHASE AND VOLTAGE: Alternating current, three-phase, nominally at 4,800, 13,200, 24,000, 41,570 or 120,000 volts at the option of the Company.
    CONTRACT CAPACITY: Customers shall contract for a specified capacity in kilowatts sufficient to meet normal maximum requirements but not less than 50 kilowatts. The Company undertakes to provide the necessary facilities for a supply of electric power from its primary distribution system at the contract capacity. Any single reading of the demand meter in any month that exceeds the contract capacity then in effect shall become the new contract capacity. The contract capacity for customers served at more than one voltage level shall be the sum of the contract capacities established for each voltage level.
    RATE PER MONTH:
    Full Service Customers:
    Power Supply Charges:
    Demand Charge: $10.40 per kW of on-peak billing demand
    Energy Charge: 4.001¢ per kWh for all kWh
    Voltage Level Discount:
    0.15¢ per kWh at transmission level
    0.10¢ per kWh at subtransmission level
    Delivery Charges:
    Service Charge: $275 per month


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    kdawg

     

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    May 12th, 2011 (10:00 am)

    Loboc: Oil is in a downward spiral due to lack of perceived demand. Any trouble in Libya is already factored into the price since they haven’t been shipping for months.

    Gas shot up here (Michigan) again for some reason. It was $4.29 for about a week, then dropped to $3.96 for about 4 days, then it popped back up yesterday to $4.20. Nice rollercoaster ride.


  16. 16
    Raymondjram

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    May 12th, 2011 (10:08 am)

    I believe in the “SunShot” attitude, like the “moonshot” of the 1960s (which I lived through). I wish that all state legislatures would implement building codes that will require new homes to have the PV infrastructure built in together with the regular power meters, so the new home owner can decide to add the PV panels and controllers to the initial purchase, and pay it with the first mortgage.

    Most families don’t have the knowhow to add PV systems later, so have it as an option in every new home will allow Americans to become solar powered from the start. Then with lower PV panel costs, more installers, and some tax incentives, older homes will be converted, and we can become energy independent in twenty or more years.

    Having at least one Chevy Volt in every solar-powered garage is the icing on the cake!

    Raymond


  17. 17
    George S. Bower

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    May 12th, 2011 (10:11 am)

    So let’s see:
    150 Volts/day@ 12.5 kwh/volt=1875 kwh/day from a 516 Kw array.

    This means, on the average, the array puts out 3.6 hrs/day.

    A believable number since in sunny AZ we get an average of 5 hrs per day. but still, somewhat marginal to be doing a lot of solar where it is cloudy a lot.

    The cost of the system was $3,000,000.
    Over 20 yrs that’s 150,000$/yr so the 15,000$ number could be a typo–ie left out a zero.

    If the system cost $150,000/ yr and it puts out 1875kwhx365= 684,375 kwh/yr. It means the electricity costs GM 150000/684,375=

    22 cents/kwh—not so great but this is probably before tax breaks which would make it almost worthwhile.


  18. 18
    Dan Petit

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    May 12th, 2011 (10:15 am)

    kdawg,

    That regards huge power users at an industrial scale most often, but never residences.
    It does not at all pertain to anything solar. It’s only for huge businesses that take a peak of fifty kilowatts at a surge demand at any time. You see, it costs us all at least a thousand dollars a kilowatt to buy capacity. If suddenly, you had five huge industries planning expansion within your service area, the utility must warrant that you yourself will not have degraded voltage or a brownout at any time, which can greatly impact your residential electronics.

    Utilities really have to have a way to make careless demand spikes be eliminated. That is what you are seeing in the demand factor. This has been in place for thirty years here in Texas. One business complained about the demand factor when employees would snap on all circuit breakers at once and his demand factor was ten times the kilowatts because of this careless action. Instead of being billed for only six thousand kilowatts, he was billed for **sixty thousand** kilowatts in one monthly bill. This is how utilities protect the rest of us from preventable spikes and brownouts and preserve the integrity of the grid.


  19. 19
    Kent

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    May 12th, 2011 (11:06 am)

    Schmeltz,

    I was surprised to read that also, but it has to be an error. I have 27 solar panels on my roof at a cost of $30K (before tax credits) and I save about $2,500 per year (I live in sunny CA).


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    CaptJackSparrow

     

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    May 12th, 2011 (11:30 am)

    Ted in Fort Myers: She still owes me a Chevrolet Volt Golf shirt that was promised the day of the tour.

    Ted, you should’ve just took the shirt she had on and call it DONE!

    AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!!!!

    Hey, in the artists rendering/drawing of where the solar panels will be, does anyone find kind of strange that they are not going to be installed in the parking lot right above it? Or is that even a parking lot? I would think the employees would benefit from the shade it gives for their car. You wouldn’t burn your legs on the leather otr “Pleather” if wearing shorts. :-)

    OK, OT but…..
    You know how I told yall bout the lay offs here due to fleet services and Gas was the main factor? Well, a group of pissed off employees made a big fat azz stink about how the drivers of many! many! of the fleet use the cars/trucks for their personal use. They are actually allowed to take the cars/trucks home and commute back to work or to the field.
    lol, that benefit ended abruptly yesterday with a mass email to EVERYONE!!!!
    I don’t drive one so IMHO “BUY YOUR OWN DAMN GAS MUTHAF@#!%&#$!”

    AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!!!!!

    /back to my Kahlua n Coffee…..
    //it didn’t save any positions but it slapped management if the face with a closed fist…. :-P


  21. 21
    APC

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    May 12th, 2011 (11:37 am)

    The problem with solar is that it doesn’t “pay” when electricity is .10/kw. It is still cheaper to burn coal and send it thru the grid than make a solar panel. So it is great news to hear about the “solar shot” program! That would do wonders for the world.

    Nanosolar has a printing-press style factory for solar panels. Their cost target is 60 cents per watt. This DH array would have a ‘panel’ cost of $319k. Things like that start to work from a business standpoint. Lets hope they keep pushing!

    I also like the solar car charging station. Wouldnt it make sense to cover our vast shopping center parking lots with solar panels? They would provide shade AND charge your car. Sounds like a win-win! Although snow would be a problem.. probably a better bet for southern states.

    I hope these charger companies don’t plan on hosing individuals for the ‘convenience’ of charging. Competition won’t be as fierce as gas stations, because we can’t pull in wherever we like for a quick fill up yet. The chargers are slower so they have to be at places we already park for some time. Like work, school, or stores. That means there’s a danger of companies getting into agreements at those locations and then jacking the rates way up. If you start seeing $20 to plug in, we’ll be right back to square one.

    The rate should not be just-under the cost of gasoline, it should be be just-over the cost of electricity. How could we assure that? Maybe have municipalities offer free chargers at public parking ramps. Maybe stores will see the potential and offer free charging if you park in their lot, to draw you in. Either way I hope these charger companies aren’t able to monopolize an area and charge ridiculous convenience fees.

    It is in our national security interest to have everyone driving electric. Go technology go!


  22. 22
    Bonaire

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    May 12th, 2011 (11:44 am)

    $3M is too much (IMO) for a 500kW system. The reason is larger-scale arrays tend to drop down in cost per-Watt installed. Should be fully below $2.5M

    Here is one that is $1.7M for 382kW *less than $5/Watt and it’s roof-top mounted.

    http://www.shady-maple.com/farm-market/green_energy

    I think since it is a government project, they are factoring in “waste and fraud” into it a little bit. :-)


  23. 23
    Noel Park

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    May 12th, 2011 (12:02 pm)

    Dan Petit: So. while the relationships between the numbers and watts may not be readily apparent in the thread topic, you can really bet that innovative business people who are really dedicated and thoroughly understand the physics and economics of solar, are in fact making it all work extremely well between the three parties.

    #11

    I agree. +1 I’m pretty sure that we don’t understand the niceties of this business arrangement. My sense of the language in the article is that the utility does the installation and gets the power, and that GM gets paid $15K a year for the use of the “easement”. What other benefits GM gets, aside from the obvious “green cred” is not obvious.

    Jeff, is there any chance of clarifying this? Obviously, inquiring minds want to know, LOL.


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    LauraM

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    May 12th, 2011 (12:06 pm)

    Schmeltz: I was feeling good about reading this news until I saw the cost savings of only $15000 a year. I mean, the solar array itself will probably cost millions of dollars to install alone, and it’s only providing a $15000/year savings??? Am I reading this wrong? Then the article goes on to say that GM is also implementing lighting changes to yeild a $3,000,000/year savings—now you’re getting somewhere. Someone please correct me here, but it looks like the solar isn’t going to cut it if cost savings is the goal. I’d be happy to be wrong.

    Solar panels are like electric cars. And flat panels TVS. The technology is relatively undeveloped, so it’s expensive. But you need to produce the expensive ones to hopefully eventually produce the cheaper ones. So those who buy solar panels now are the early adopters who will, hopefully, eventually, make them affordable to the rest of us.

    That said, the $15,000 does seem low.


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    Noel Park

     

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    May 12th, 2011 (12:08 pm)

    Bonaire: $3M is too much (IMO) for a 500kW system. The reason is larger-scale arrays tend to drop down in cost per-Watt installed. Should be fully below $2.5M

    #22

    Maybe they have to do something more sophisticated to get the results in MI. kdawg pointed out that it doesn’t have exactly the best climate for solar. Maybe some kind of sun tracking system like statik used to talk about? Would that be more expensive per kW?


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    Jeff Cobb

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    May 12th, 2011 (12:10 pm)

    Noel Park: #11

    I agree.+1I’m pretty sure that we don’t understand the niceties of this business arrangement.My sense of the language in the article is that the utility does the installation and gets the power, and that GM gets paid $15K a year for the use of the “easement”.What other benefits GM gets, aside from the obvious “green cred” is not obvious.

    Jeff, is there any chance of clarifying this?Obviously, inquiring minds want to know, LOL.

    I’ve been trying to get through to the spokesperson assigned to this story, but her cell phone VM is full, and will accept no messages. Also called Rob, but did not get to him either.

    If you click on the “GM” link, it says what this story says: $15,000 saved per year over a 20 year easement. The project costs $3M. The $15,000 part is even repeated in quotes, so they did not mean it was that much per month, or some such.

    Will keep trying.


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    Noel Park

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    May 12th, 2011 (12:11 pm)

    LauraM: Solar panels are like electric cars.

    #24

    Hi Laura. Nice to see you. +1

    Hopefully God looks out for drunks, little children and early adopters, LOL.


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    Tim Hart

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    May 12th, 2011 (12:14 pm)

    I hope I’m around long enough to have my very own solar panel charging up my Volt. Energy independence for an individual homeowner is a very exciting prospect!


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    LauraM

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    May 12th, 2011 (12:22 pm)

    Loboc: Oil is in a downward spiral due to lack of perceived demand. Any trouble in Libya is already factored into the price since they haven’t been shipping for months.

    I agree about Libya. But oil was still over $100 a barrel as of yesterday. Anytime there’s news that the economy might not be in such bad shape, oil goes up. Any time you hear anything dollar negative, oil goes up. Etc.

    The Chinese demand is still there. The potential for the unrest in the middle east to spread is still there. The dollar is still weak…

    Loboc: One problem is that below $4/gallon, alternatives don’t make economic sense. Gasoline is still comparatively cheap for what you get in energy content.

    Which is why we need a gas tax.


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    Larry L. McFall

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    May 12th, 2011 (12:28 pm)

    Looking forward to those roof solar panels that charge up the batteries in the Volt itself. I congrat the management for such inovative and constructive thinking as to employ “Solar Panels” for energy charging. I have used them for many years to provide a charge to my battery bank that I invert to house current to operate my ranch. It works and works well.

    Years ago, over 20 I used L19 orecar batteries (i.e., they lasted for over 10 years before needing relaced) and now, the batteries are much better and hold a good charge in comparison. The system works! Let us have it in the Volt system as a charging component. It would be a great advantage providing that we want to reduce oil usage.


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    Schmeltz

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    May 12th, 2011 (12:29 pm)

    LauraM: That said, the $15,000 does seem low.

    Yeah…that’s a rounding error for a factory of this magnitude. I wonder if they missed a “zero” when writing this, or maybe it is indeed correct. I don’t know and admittedly know little about solar in general. All said though, it’s nice to see a company like GM doing this even despite the costs.


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    May 12th, 2011 (12:54 pm)

    LauraM: Which is why we need a gas tax.

    I’m more in favor of “feathering off” the gas subsidy. As gas prices goes down feather off some of the subsidy to keep it at $4/gal.

    I still don’t like the idea of high prices to entice PHV/PHEV/EV sales. Consider the pains it comes with as “Detox”!!!


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    May 12th, 2011 (1:02 pm)

    Schmeltz: All said though, it’s nice to see a company like GM doing this even despite the costs.

    #31

    Right. Exactly. Couldn’t agree more. You go, GM. +1


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    May 12th, 2011 (1:04 pm)

    Bonaire: $3M is too much (IMO) for a 500kW system. The reason is larger-scale arrays tend to drop down in cost per-Watt installed. Should be fully below $2.5M

    Here is one that is $1.7M for 382kW *less than $5/Watt and it’s roof-top mounted.

    http://www.shady-maple.com/farm-market/green_energy

    I think since it is a government project, they are factoring in “waste and fraud” into it a little bit.

    +1000000000000!!!!!!

    /kind of like the EVSE install of the chargers. $2,000.00 to install a ~$500.00 device. But you get a fed rebate of $1,000.00. Hmmmmm…..


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    May 12th, 2011 (1:22 pm)

    #28 Tim Hart I hope I’m around long enough to have my very own solar panel charging up my Volt. Energy independence for an individual homeowner is a very exciting prospect!

    ———
    (im having trouble w/quoting bringing up the stupid ad page)
    Anway, being from Michigan, with our crappy sunlight, I looked into windmills, all different sizes. From what I read, you dont really get a payback in 10 years (or whatever) because typically something fails which is very expensive to fix. Therefore it turns into a money pit. If there’s someone here that can speak otherwise, I’d love to hear it.


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    May 12th, 2011 (2:24 pm)

    Noel Park: Hi Laura. Nice to see you. +1

    Hopefully God looks out for drunks, little children and early adopters, LOL.

    Hi! Sorry I haven’t been around. Work has been crazy lately. I suppose that’s a good thing…


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    May 12th, 2011 (2:25 pm)

    Schmeltz: Yeah…that’s a rounding error for a factory of this magnitude. I wonder if they missed a “zero” when writing this, or maybe it is indeed correct. I don’t know and admittedly know little about solar in general. All said though, it’s nice to see a company like GM doing this even despite the costs.

    Absolutely. Even if it is mostly about PR, it still helps bring the costs down.


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    May 12th, 2011 (2:26 pm)

    nasaman: I just read about the US DOE’s comprehensive “SunShot” program*, recently announced by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu to reduce the cost of solar energy systems by 75% before 2020. If that 75% reduction would apply to small scale systems, a system that costs $8,000 today would presumably cost only about $2,000 within nine years. At this cost, electricity would be essentially FREE (if not an outright income stream) for an average homeowner! Thanks for helping to start this ball rolling at DHAM, GM!*The name “SunShot” (like “MoonShot”) suggests DOE sees this program as a BIG DEAL —I hope so!

    Here’s a mind-expander–what would be one the world’s best locations for gathering the energy of the sun? Some of the same places that have the best lithium reserves, such as the high deserts in South America. Or, say, Nevada. So the panels can power the mining and transportation equipment. Downward cost spiral. Me likey a lottey.


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    May 12th, 2011 (2:35 pm)

    kdawg: I’m not sure how it only save’s them $15K/year. They must have a very cheap rate for electricity, or they are assuming a lot of maintenance cost? If we use typical consumer rates, it costs $1/day to charge a Volt, and if you charge 150 of them x 365 days/year, that would be $54,750 in electricity/year.

    That does seem really low. That said, commercial rates are lower though, and it appears from the article that only a small portion of the power generated by the array will be destined for DHam. The rest is for other customers as it’s designed, “in all, …to generate 15 megawatts of solar electricity for Southeastern Michigan?”


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    May 12th, 2011 (2:48 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow: I’m more in favor of “feathering off” the gas subsidy. As gas prices goes down feather off some of the subsidy to keep it at $4/gal.

    I still don’t like the idea of high prices to entice PHV/PHEV/EV sales. Consider the pains it comes with as “Detox”!!!

    Unfortunately, the subsidies are very indirect. There’s I doubt they could feather them to the degree necessary. Even with taxes that would be a challenge…


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    May 12th, 2011 (2:50 pm)

    How solar panels can be eco-friendly?!
    Its production cycle damages environment more, than working coal power plant.

    Better spend money on nuclear. Oh yes, public fears nuclear boogie, no matter that it doesn’t exist.


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    May 12th, 2011 (3:13 pm)

    Schmeltz: I was feeling good about reading this news until I saw the cost savings of only $15000 a year.I mean, the solar array itself will probably cost millions of dollars to install alone, and it’s only providing a $15000/year savings???Am I reading this wrong?Then the article goes on to say that GM is also implementing lighting changes to yeild a $3,000,000/year savings—now you’re getting somewhere.Someone please correct me here, but it looks like the solar isn’t going to cut it if cost savings is the goal.I’d be happy to be wrong.

    $15 k sounds awfully low. This system is over 1000 times larger than my 5kw system which produces $70 per month on average. That would be over $800,000 per year according to my simple ratio. My electric is 10+ cents per Kwh.


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    May 12th, 2011 (3:47 pm)

    Dmitrii: How solar panels can be eco-friendly?!
    Its production cycle damages environment more, than working coal power plant.

    Better spend money on nuclear. Oh yes, public fears nuclear boogie, no matter that it doesn’t exist.

    Do you have a good source on that? Even if that is true, they need to invest in ways to reduce the damage of the production cycle. It can’t be an insoluble problem.

    As far as solar vs. nuclear–there’s more solar energy hitting the earth every single year, than the earth has uranium (or thorium) reserves. And it’s not like enriching uranium isn’t energy intensive. Or that nuclear waste doesn’t have issues. Just look at Japan!

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t invest in nuclear energy. But we also need to invest in solar energy.


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    May 12th, 2011 (3:55 pm)

    kdawg: Demand Charge: $10.40 per kW of on-peak billing demand
    Energy Charge: 4.001¢ per kWh for all kWh
    Voltage Level Discount:
    0.15¢ per kWh at transmission level
    0.10¢ per kWh at subtransmission level
    Delivery Charges:
    Service Charge: $275 per month

    flyingfish 12: $15 k sounds awfully low. This system is over 1000 times larger than my 5kw system which produces $70 per month on average. That would be over $800,000 per year according to my simple ratio. My electric is 10+ cents per Kwh.

    #42

    Note kdawg’s comment at #12. It looks like their rate is something like $0.04, although I don’t know what those discounts are about. That said, your point appears to be well taken. +1 Even at $0.04 it does look like somebody dropped a “0″ or something.


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    May 12th, 2011 (4:08 pm)

    Dmitrii: Better spend money on nuclear. Oh yes, public fears nuclear boogie, no matter that it doesn’t exist.

    lol…….you funny guy.

    I think it’s safe. But right now the Japanese don’t think so.
    Here’s an idea, place all the backup generators, batteries etc………well above water? If I read it correctly, the diesel generators were below sea level? or at sea level?

    Anyway, that was an epic natural disaster that I think nothing could’ve been prevented. Even if you did raise all the backup stuff, the quake could’ve shook the platform down.
    Hell man, a meteorite culdda hit the reactor and everyone would still say Nuclear is too dangerous of a boogie man.


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    May 12th, 2011 (4:18 pm)

    nasaman,

    75% reduction in solar = ? % increase in your taxes????? Don’t think for a minute it’s all free.


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    May 12th, 2011 (5:21 pm)

    The bigger picture is that Green cars being produced with Green energy. The amount or payback time isn’t as important as a statement of reduction from oil. Payback numbers will fluctuation over time as other prices change, but for now and in the future, Green Cars From Green Energy!


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    May 12th, 2011 (7:18 pm)

    Spending money like a rich uncle is paying for it?


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    May 12th, 2011 (8:56 pm)

    kdawg: Gas shot up here (Michigan) again for some reason.

    The Mississippi is creating a lot of transportation problems. My guess is that this is the issue. Even worse, time to transport Volts to CA is going up.


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    May 12th, 2011 (11:30 pm)

    I agree that offsetting $15,000 of electricity a year seems remarkably low — many have remarks on it…

    However, perhaps they do actually mean that, amortised over two decades, they are saving $15,000 annually? (By the time capital investment, cost saved on electricity etc. have all been factored in.)


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    May 13th, 2011 (2:20 am)

    In buying a good suit, who’s more important, the designer or the tailor?
    Be careful in how we, the consumers, spend our tax revenue money!


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    May 13th, 2011 (2:57 am)

    Dmitrii: How solar panels can be eco-friendly?! Its production cycle damages environment more, than working coal power plant.
    Better spend money on nuclear. Oh yes, public fears nuclear boogie, no matter that it doesn’t exist.

    Utter tosh.

    From just one of the articles that a simple search yields:

    “The researchers found that producing electricity from solar cells reduces air pollutants by about 90 percent in comparison to using conventional fossil fuel technologies.”
    (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080225090826.htm)
    via http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=solar+panel+environmental+impact

    As for nuclear: Significant concerns remain about uranium-based reactors, in particular with regards to long-term storage of waste, but also with respect to supplies of the element — if we switched over completely to nuclear, we’d get through it all rather quickly… Thorium-based reactors may offer a better alternative. But even in the latter case, we have much simpler issues: cost, and time to generation. Nuclear power stations cost a lot of money, and take a long time before they become operational. In that time and with that amount of money, you could have built a number of solar and other renewable power-based stations, and had them running. Straightforward economics doesn’t support nuclear…


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    May 13th, 2011 (7:30 am)

    The $15,000 is what GM saves on what they would normally expect on their bill, as well as the kudos of being a good corporate citizen.

    The balance of what they would have paid on their power bill goes to the people who put up the solar panels to pay them off. Seems like a good win – win for GM on this one.

    Cheers.


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    May 13th, 2011 (9:08 am)

    kdawg,

    Yep, simple math shows that the $15k savings must be a typo… the solar investment return would be many times more that number.


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    May 13th, 2011 (11:06 am)

    Johnnie: kdawg,
    Yep, simple math shows that the $15k savings must be a typo…

    I and NZDavid have suggested otherwise: It may not be a typo; $15k may be the actual net saving, after the costs of the solar array etc. have been taken into account.


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    May 13th, 2011 (11:27 am)

    NZDavid: The $15,000 is what GM saves on what they would normally expect on their bill

    We don’t know that.

    mmalc: However, perhaps they do actually mean that, amortised over two decades, they are saving $15,000 annually? (By the time capital investment, cost saved on electricity etc. have all been factored in.)

    That’s what I think too. That would make sense. You don’t invest millions to save a few thousands a year, no matter the green cred.


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    May 14th, 2011 (7:23 am)

    flyingfish 12: $15 k sounds awfully low. This system is over 1000 times larger than my 5kw system which produces $70 per month on average. That would be over $800,000 per year according to my simple ratio. My electric is 10+ cents per Kwh.

    Tall Pete: That’s what I think too. That would make sense. You don’t invest millions to save a few thousands a year, no matter the green cred.

    Johnnie: Yep, simple math shows that the $15k savings must be a typo… the solar investment return would be many times more that number.

    Eco_Turbo: Spending money like a rich uncle is paying for it?

    DTE Energy will own and operate the solar plant. GM will receive a $15,000 a year discount in their energy costs for the next twenty years, for allowing DTE to have a leasehold interest in DHams rooftop and or ground coverage.


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    May 15th, 2011 (8:44 am)

    LauraM,

    It is very useful consideration which investment would be more beneficial and which investment will give lowest power price assuming all environmental benefits/damages would be covered and supply security would be taken into account. I would say that solar is most expensive option from existing ones. Even wind power is five times “cheaper” option especially for northern states. But is still not economical enough to be mainstreamed.

    Most environmentally friendly invention is Chevy Volt itself since it is economical as well, IMO. Therefore I am totally supportive for Chevy Volt paradigm. You CAN calculate payback of investment and this have been done many times on this Internet site. This is not the case for wind, solar, wave, tidal or any other “green” power generation. Chevy Volt has other good feature – dramatically smaller tailpipe harmful emissions (apart from CO2) which are hundred times more harmful to human health than same coal power plant emissions since flue gases of power plants are handled carefully (deactivated) and are emitted over high stacks. The main feature of those emissions (NOx, SO2) that they are very harmful immediate after combustion process and danger totally disappears over time.

    LauraM, I don’t remember who told that economy is the science how in most efficient way use natural resources. And this is really true. Many life cycle analysis performed shoes that the lowest power generation price means least long run environmental damage as well. For instance life cycle analysis shoes, that wind mills emit CO2 during manufacturing process more than coal power plant during coal combustion process per kWh produced.