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GM's $7.5 million solar-powered Volt charging stations

Auto-maker invests in solar supplier to create 310 jobs in Detroit and Ontario


July 28, 2011
by Canadian Manufacturing Daily Staff

DETROIT—General Motors Ventures (GM) has invested $7.5 million in Sunlogics PLC to install solar charging canopies at Chevrolet dealerships and GM facilities for its electric Volt, creating 310 jobs in the U.S. and Canada.

GM also signed a power purchase agreement to install large-scale solar arrays at GM facilities and purchase the energy they produce.

Sunlogics will use some of the funding to establish its corporate headquarters and open manufacturing facilities in Detroit and an unnamed area in Ontario.

The facility in southeast Michigan will create 200 jobs and the Canadian facility will support 110 jobs.

“The Chevrolet solar charging canopy project complements our electrification strategy that started with the Chevrolet Volt by helping our cars live up to their fullest green potential,” says Jon Lauckner, president of GM Ventures.

Lauckner says the investment allows GM to partner with a company that can help it drive the use of large-scale solar installations at its facilities.

GM has also committed to doubling its solar energy output globally by the end of 2015.

“Our facilities currently house 30 megawatts of solar power and we are committing to double that capacity to 60 megawatts over the next few years, equivalent to powering 10,000 homes annually,” says Mike Robinson, GM vice-president of Energy, Environment and Safety Policy.

GM is already the auto industry’s leading user of renewable energy. It has three of the largest rooftop solar power installations in the U.S. and the world’s largest rooftop solar installation at its car assembly plant in Zaragoza, Spain.

The auto-maker has also started construction on a new solar field at its Detroit-Hamtramck facility and recently completed a rooftop solar installation at its Baltimore Operations facility.