Ford and DTE Energy to Build Michigan’s Largest Solar Array at Ford HQ

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Perhaps taking a cue from GM, Ford Motor Company is teaming up with DTE Energy, a Michigan-based utility company, to build Michigan’s largest solar array at Ford’s headquarters in Dearborn.

The project, funded by DTE Energy, will provide employees with 360 covered parking spaces and 30 charging stations for plug-in electric vehicles. A kiosk will also be on site offering general information to visitors about solar power and specific details about the Ford carport.

“Ford has a long history of innovation and a deep commitment to sustainability,” said Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford Motor Company. “Our fundamental purpose as a company is to make people’s lives better. We do that by creating outstanding products, by investing in communities where our employees live and work, and by using technology to tackle global sustainability challenges. Those beliefs are embodied in this project.”

The solar canopy will have capacity of 1.038 MW, enough to power 158 average-sized homes. It will be the second-largest solar carport in the Midwest, after a 1.1 MW facility at the Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio, and it will reduce the amount of electricity Ford pulls from the grid to run its offices.

Under a recently finalized agreement, DTE Energy will construct, operate, and maintain the carport for 20 years. Construction is slated to begin in September and to be completed in early 2015.

“We are thrilled to be collaborating with DTE Energy to bring a more efficient, renewable energy source to our offices,” said Donna Inch, chairman and CEO, Ford Motor Land Development Corporation. “This is an innovative project that will benefit both DTE Energy and Ford, and is yet another example of our work toward building a more sustainable future.”

Irene Dimitry, DTE Energy vice president, marketing and renewables agreed and added, “At the same time, this project will help us come closer to meeting Michigan’s renewable energy goals and diversify our energy portfolio.”

This is the second collaboration between Ford and DTE Energy in recent years, the first being a 500 kW array at Ford’s Wayne, Michigan assembly plant.

The solar installation is part of the SolarCurrents initiative, which DTE Energy launched in 2009. The program works to fulfill DTE Energy’s commitment to generate 10% of its energy from renewable sources by 2015.