US: One of Michigan's largest solar energy systems to be installed at Ford factory

Ford has said it will work with Detroit Edison to install a 500-kilowatt photovoltaics (PV) panel system at Michigan Assembly. The system will be integrated with a 750 kW energy storage facility that can store two million watt-hours of energy using batteries, which the company says, will help power the production of Ford’s new Focus and Focus Electric cars as well as its next-generation hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

A secondary, smaller solar energy system will be integrated at a later date to power lighting systems at Michigan Assembly. It has been said that Michigan Assembly solar energy systems are projected to save an estimated USD$160,000 per year in energy costs.

"With this solar energy system, we will be able to gain vital understanding about the integration of renewable power, smart-grid technologies and energy storage at an industrial facility," said Jim Tetreault, Ford vice president, North America Manufacturing.

The Michigan Assembly project is made possible by a USD$3 million investment by Detroit Edison’s SolarCurrents program, a USD$2 million grant from the Michigan Public Service Commission in support of the state’s smart-grid initiative, and approximately USD$800,000 from Ford.

Ford also will install 10 electric vehicle-charging stations at Michigan Assembly to demonstrate advanced battery charging technologies using renewable energy and other smart-grid advances. The stations will be used to recharge electric switcher trucks that transport parts between adjacent facilities. Xtreme Power will provide an active power management system on the charging stations. Additionally, Ford has said it will demonstrate the possibility for using electrified vehicle batteries as stationary power storage devices after their useful life.