Chevrolet is planning to use solar-powered electric charging stations at its dealerships to give them the capacity to charge a dozen Volts daily, thus making them more efficient and cost effective.
That’s a brilliant idea, seeing as the cars might sleep at the dealer’s court for a long time and they can be gradually charged using the solar system with no cost to the dealer. Well, only the cost of installing the system!
The Green Zone initiative will generate electricity equivalent to 12 full vehicle charges per day and excess electricity created will help supplement the dealership’s power needs. American Chevrolet in Modesto, Calif., and Al Serra Auto Plaza in Grand Blanc, Mich., are the first U.S. dealerships to complete their solar charging capability by installing Green Zones on their property.
Chevy press release:
“The Chevrolet Green Zone will provide our U.S. dealers with added flexibility when it comes to charging their vehicles, while also reinforcing GM’s commitment to renewable energy projects,” said Chris Perry, vice president, Global Chevrolet Marketing and Strategy.
“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.”
Each canopy generates enough electricity for up to 4,500 charges per vehicle annually. The proof of concept for the Green Zone project is housed at the Detroit Hamtramck assembly plant, manufacturing home of the Volt.
“The beauty of this program is that there is no capital cost required from the dealership,” said Dave Halvorson, president of American Chevrolet in Modesto. “Not only do we generate the solar energy to increase our reliance on renewable electricity, but the Green Zone is a billboard of our commitment to the environment.”
The Chevy Green Zone Initiative is part of GM Ventures’ recent announcement to invest $7.5 million in Sunlogics, a solar panel manufacturing and development company that will supply the panels and install the dealer charging stations. Both American Chevrolet and Al Serra Chevrolet partnered with Sunlogics for installation of their Green Zones.
“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 Perry. “Collectively, that will be a lot of power we are putting back into the grid.”
As part of the GM Ventures investment announcement in Sunlogics, General Motors committed to double its solar output globally – from 30 megawatts to 60 megawatts by 2015. The company derives 1.4 percent of its U.S. energy consumption from renewable resources.
GM is the leading user of renewable energy in automotive manufacturing. It has three of the largest automotive rooftop solar power installations in the United States, and the world’s largest rooftop solar installation at its car assembly plant in Zaragoza, Spain. Additionally, GM has started construction on a new solar field at its Detroit-Hamtramck facility and completed construction on a solar array on top of its Baltimore Operations facility.