/strong>General Motors has long been an advocate of solar energy, as is evident by the massive solar installations at many of its assembly plants. Now GM wants Chevrolet dealerships to do the same by participating in its new Green Zone Initiative, which includes the addition of solar panel canopies on their lots.
The canopies will primarily serve as an electric charging station with the capacity to replenish a dozen Chevy Volts daily. Additionally, the extra power harnessed from the sun can be fed back to the grid to supplement the dealership’s energy usage. Better yet, it will cost the dealers nothing to have the Green Zone canopies installed on their lots.
Two U.S. Chevy dealers are the first to take advantage of the deal they couldn’t refuse: American Chevrolet in Modesto, California and Al Serra Auto Plaza in Grand Blanc, Michigan.
“The question isn’t whether to install a solar canopy; it’s where and how many,” said Joe Serra, president of Serra Automotive. “It’s a win for us because the electricity generated will help reduce operating costs, and it’s a win for the environment since solar power helps reduce our carbon footprint.”
GM first demonstrated the Green Zone project at its Detroit Hamtramck assembly plant, which builds the Volt. The initiative is part of a $7.5 million investment into private company Sunlogics, which will provide and install the dealer solar canopies.
“Just one of these canopies provides enough renewable energy to power two to three homes per year, or more than 25 percent of a dealership’s energy consumption,” said Chris Perry, vice president, Global Chevrolet Marketing and Strategy. “Collectively, that will be a lot of power we are putting back into the grid.”
GM is currently leads all auto manufacturers in solar power usage. It has installed three solar power installations at three of its U.S. plants and has the world’s largest rooftop panel array at its assembly plant in Zaragoza, Spain.