Tuesday, September 18, 2007

GM Installs Second Solar Facility in Inland Empire

Well here's a good idea that I hope catches on. GM has a couple of plants in Fontana and Rancho Cucamonga. They've recently used the acres of flat roof over the plants to install some of the biggest solar arrays in the area:

General Motors Corp said Thursday it will add one of the largest solar power installations in corporate use at a warehouse in California, generating half the electricity needed to run the 300,000-square-foot facility.

The automaker said it has partnered with a subsidiary of Constellation Energy , which will design, build, own and operate the solar array on the roof of a GM service and parts operation warehouse in Fontana, about 60 miles east of Los Angeles.

The solar-powered array, which will become operational in December, will feed enough extra electricity back to the grid to power more than 300 homes for a year, GM said in a statement.

Something not spelled out in the article is that this entire installation costs GM exactly nothing. The incentive is that Constellation Energy gets a steady source of income by selling the solar powered electricity to GM and the power grid.

G.M. and a small but growing number of other companies and municipalities are getting solar energy from systems installed by others. Even though the installations are right on their own roofs, they buy the electricity much as they would from a utility’s grid. And because the companies that paid for the systems will get a steady income, they can provide power from the sun at competitive electricity rates.

There was a time in the 70's when there was a big push for solar power and tax benefits were offered to people who put them on their homes, but there were no big benefits for businesses to do the same. This trend would create an incentive independent of government's capricious whims. I hope it's a idea that catches on.

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