Ford Motor Co. has been betting big on battery power, and now it’s tapping the sun to help charge up some of its electric vehicles with a sprawling new solar energy array it plans to install outside its suburban Detroit headquarters.
Ford is the latest in a growing list of manufacturers turning to solar energy at their office buildings and manufacturing plants. General Motors is even using sun power to help charge up newly assembled Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrids before shipping them off to customers. And solar energy is providing a major chunk of the power needed to run Volkswagen’s big assembly plant in Tennessee.
Ford has “a deep commitment to sustainability,” explains Chairman Bill Ford Jr. The maker’s “beliefs are embodied in this project,” he stressed.
Working with local power supplier DTE Energy, Ford’s new solar array will be the largest in Michigan and the second-largest in the Midwest, covering 360 parking spaces in front of the headquarters building known locally as “Glass House.” In all, it will be able to produce up to 1.038 megawatts of energy.