Your roof: a new power source?

July 11, 2008
Does your roof have the potential to reduce your energy consumption? General Motors thinks theirs does.

Does your roof have the potential to reduce your energy consumption? General Motors thinks theirs does.

General Motors this week announced that it will generate about 12 megawatts of power when it installs what it considers to be the world's largest rooftop solar photovoltaic power installation to its car assembly plant located in Figueruelas, Zaragoza, Spain.

When the project is completed in the fall of 2008, the Zaragoza solar installation will cover about 2,000,000 square feet of roof at the plant with a total of 85,000 solar panels. The installation will generate about 15.1 million kWh of power annually, equivalent to the demand of 4,575 households with an average annual consumption of 3,300 kWh in Spain.

GM currently has two of the largest solar power installations in the United States on the roofs of its Rancho Cucamonga and Fontana, California parts warehouses. The Rancho Cucamonga project was the first public solar project in the U.S. over 1 mega watt, when it began operating in the fall of 2006. The solar panels provide about 50 percent of the electricity to the facility.

The Fontana project, also 1 megawatt, became operational in December 2007. It generates about 1.3 million kilowatt hours of electricity a year, which is about the amount needed to power 200 homes yearly.
On the Zaragoza project, GM has partnered with Clairvoyant Energy, Veolia Environmental and the Government of Aragon to develop the renewable energy project. United Solar Ovonic will provide the thin film flexible solar laminates for the project.

GM will lease their roof space to Clairvoyant Energy and Veolia Environment, who will build, own and operate the rooftop solar installation. Veolia Environment applies its technical and overall management expertise in the project's engineering, construction, approval process phases, as well as system operations maintenance.

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