Friday, March 11, 2011

Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant Goes Solar

Progress is still happening, and given all the other news lately, it comes with great pleasure to point it out. This link goes to a PR release; perhaps our state media will pick up on it later. Back in December, it was announced that the Michigan Assembly Plant would be the first in the world to build vehicles with four different powertrains on the same assembly line, and now they are moving forward with powering the operation on solar energy. This will be one of "Michigan's largest" solar projects according to the release.

The primary part of one of Michigan's largest solar power generation systems at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant is now up and running, delivering renewable energy to help power the production of fuel-efficient small cars. The system is the result of collaboration between Ford, DTE Energy, Xtreme Power, the city of Wayne and the state of Michigan.

The renewable energy captured by the energy system will help power the production of Ford's all-new Focus set to hit showrooms this month. The plant will also produce Focus Electric, Ford's first zero-emission battery electric passenger vehicle and the C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid.

The solar energy system will serve as a pilot alternative energy project to be evaluated for possible use at other Ford manufacturing facilities in the future. A secondary, smaller solar energy system will be integrated at Michigan Assembly to power lighting systems at the plant.

They also are installing a "750-kilowatt energy storage facility that can store 2 million watt-hours of energy using batteries – enough to power 100 average Michigan homes for a year" to use during periods of low sunlight, as well as other measures such as placing vehicle charging stations on the grounds. The facility hopes to become a model for green sustainable manufacturing practices - and it sure sounds like they are well on the way. Kudos to Ford for showing us how it can be done.