General Motors is moving closer to doubling its global solar output with the addition of an 8.15-megawatt solar array on the rooftop of the Opel Rüsselsheim facility in Germany. The array – one of the largest in Europe – is equivalent to the area of 32 soccer fields.
The array will generate approximately 7.3 million kW hours from sunlight. This represents a CO2 reduction of approximately 3,150 tons per year, or equal to the amount of carbon isolated annually by 609 acres of pine forests.
“When we announced last year our plans to double our global solar power output by the end of 2015, we had large projects like this in mind,” said Mike Robinson, GM vice president, Sustainability and Global Regulatory Affairs. “And it is because of this type of progress that we are committed to increasing renewable energy use to 125 megawatts by 2020.”
Combined with the other European installations in GM’s solar footprint in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and Zaragoza, Spain, GM will be capable of producing 19.1 million kilowatt hours of electricity – equivalent to the avoidance of 8,200 tons of CO2 emissions from entering the atmosphere. That’s the same amount of carbon sequestered annually by 1,586 acres of pine forests.
As General Motors reported, the solar electricity produced at Rüsselsheim feeds directly into the grid of the plant and is used in vehicle production. Excess solar power is fed into the public grid of Stadtwerke Mainz, a leading energy provider in Germany.
GM is committed to increasing the use of solar power at facilities worldwide. The Rüsselsheim array is a significant renewable energy complement to two of the top five largest rooftop solar arrays in the world at the world’s largest rooftop solar array on top of GM’s Zaragoza and Kaiserslautern facilities. y, as well as GM’s Kaiserslautern facility. The amount of electricity generated by the trio is equivalent to the amount needed to supply 5,800 households with their annual electricity needs.
“The projects we undertake in Europe are great examples of the way we roll sustainable practices into our manufacturing process,” said Robinson. “We seek out renewable energy opportunities around the world to help clean the grid, improve our bottom line, and reduce our impact on the environment.”