Ford Motor Company is teaming with Detroit Edison, Xtreme Power and the state of Michigan to establish one of the largest solar power generation systems in the state at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant.
Ford expects the installation will create enough renewable energy to help power the production of fuel-efficient small cars, including Ford’s all-new Focus and Focus Electric going into production in 2011, and a next-generation hybrid vehicle and a plug-in hybrid vehicle coming in 2012.
Then they plan to build a smaller solar energy system will be integrated as a dedicated power source for their lighting at Michigan Assemblyplant.
The combined systems are expected save an estimated $160,000 per year in energy costs. The installation of the system begins later this year and is expected to be the largest in the State.
“With this solar energy system, we will be able to gain vital understanding about the integration of renewable power, smart-grid technologies and energy storage at an industrial facility,” said Jim Tetreault, Ford vice president, North America Manufacturing. “This project is a part of the transformation of Michigan Assembly from a large SUV factory to a modern, flexible, small car plant.”
Ford will work with Detroit Edison to install a 500-kilowatt solar photovoltaic panel system at Michigan Assembly. The system will be integrated with a 750-kw energy storage facility that can store two million watt-hours of energy using batteries – enough to power 100 average Michigan homes for a year. Xtreme Power of Austin, Texas, is supplying its Dynamic Power Resource on-site energy storage and power management system.
The solar energy installation is part of Detroit Edison’s pilot SolarCurrents program that calls for photovoltaic systems to be installed on customer rooftops or property over the next five years to generate 15 megawatts of electricity throughout Southeast Michigan.
The Michigan Assembly project is made possible by a $3 million investment by Detroit Edison’s SolarCurrents program, a $2 million grant from the Michigan Public Service Commission in support of the state’s smart-grid initiative, and approximately $800,000 from Ford.
“Our partnership with Ford is just the latest example of how our companies have worked together to power the economic engine of Southeast Michigan,” said Trevor Lauer, Detroit Edison vice president, Marketing & Renewables. “Building solar energy systems on the scale we’re pursuing will increase demand for these technologies, and we’re working with the governor’s office and various economic development organizations to attract renewable energy manufacturers and green jobs to Michigan.”
Michigan Assembly’s energy storage system will be able to recharge from the grid during off-peak hours when energy is available at a lower cost. This in turn will provide inexpensive power during peak operating hours when the cost per kilowatt-hour is higher, and reduce peak demand on the grid.
“We share a commitment with Ford to fostering an environmentally sustainable model of energy use in the U.S., and this joint project is indicative of just how far we’ve come,” said Carlos Coe, CEO, Xtreme Power. “We are proud to work together to help transform vehicle manufacturing into a sustainable process powered by clean, renewable energy.”
Since 2008, Ford has sourced renewable electricity for its electric load at it’s plant in Cologne, Germany; equivalent to reducing CO2 emissions by 190,000 tons per year. A lot but not enough.
Renewable or green power supplies ONLY 3 percent of Ford’s energy needs worldwide.