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 facility will be integrated with a 750-kilowatt energy storage facility that can store two million watt-hours of energy using batteries; enough to power 100 average Michigan homes for a year.
The solar energy system will serve as a pilot alternative energy project to be evaluated for possible use at other Ford manufacturing facilities. A secondary, smaller solar energy system will be integrated at Michigan Assembly to power lighting systems at the plant. The solar installation is part of DTE Energy’s pilot SolarCurrents program that calls for photovoltaic systems to be installed on customer rooftops or property over the next five years to generate 15 megawatts of electricity throughout southeast Michigan.
Jim Tetreault, Ford vice president of North America Manufacturing says, “This solar energy system allows us to test the viability of alternative energy to supply power for our manufacturing facilities around the world. It serves as a significant initiative within our corporate emphasis on sustainability. Michigan Assembly Plant has been transformed into a facility that embodies our drive for flexible manufacturing and strives for new standards for green manufacturing.”
The Michigan Assembly project is funded by a $3 million investment from DTE Energy’s SolarCurrents program, a $2 million grant from the Michigan Public Service Commission, and approximately $800,000 worth of in-kind contributions from Ford.
DTE Energy vice president of Marketing and Renewables, Trevor Lauer, says, “This multimillion-dollar investment is just a portion of DTE Energy’s commitment to renewable energy. We’re pleased to work with Ford as it takes another step to help the environment and with the state as it works to meet its renewable energy goals.”
Renewable energy collected by the solar system will go into the plant’s electrical distribution system to help provide power. When the plant is inactive, the collected solar energy will go into the Dynamic Power Resource storage system for later use, providing power during periods of insufficient or inconsistent sunlight.
Carlos Coe, CEO of Xtreme Power, adds: “Xtreme Power is pleased to be a part of this groundbreaking project with two very progressive companies, Ford and DTE. This installation demonstrates the versatility of our Dynamic Power Resource. We developed a new product size to operate in a new climate and programmed the controls for a new application for proven technology.”