DTE Energy is funding Michigan’s largest solar array to be built at Ford Motor Company’s World Headquarters, which DTE will construct, operate and maintain for 20 years. The solar canopy will have the capacity to generate 1.038 MW of electricity, making it the second largest solar carport in the Midwest — after the 1.1 MW facility at Ohio’s Cincinnati Zoo.
The $5 million array will reduce the amount of electricity Ford takes from the grid to run its offices, providing employees with 360 covered parking spaces and 30 charging stations for plug-in electric vehicles. An on-site kiosk will offer visitor information about solar power and the Ford carport.
Construction is due to begin in September with completion expected in early 2015.
Part of a DTE initiative which allows to DTE to reach its goal of generating 10 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2015, this is the second collaboration between Ford and DTE Energy in the last few years.
“The SolarCurrents canopy project is another example of how DTE Energy and Ford are working to build a more energy efficient and sustainable future,” said Irene Dimitry, DTE Energy vice president, marketing and renewables. “At the same time, this project will help us come closer to meeting Michigan’s renewable energy goals and diversify our energy portfolio.”
In 2010, Ford and DTE teamed up to install a 500 kW solar photovoltaic panel system to help power vehicle production at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan.
Ford World Headquarters also features a “living roof” on which multiple varieties of sedum grow to reduce storm water runoff from the building. Ford’s first green roof was developed 10 years ago at its Dearborn Truck Plant where 10.4 acres (the equivalent to eight football fields) of 11 varieties of drought-resistant vegetation were planted, helping create a natural storm water management system that costs two-thirds less to operate than a conventional treatment system. The plant species act as roof insulation, lowering the amount of heat entering the building by 70 percent and reducing cooling costs by 5 percent.