Ford, Detroit Edison and Extreme Power Working to Build One of Michigans Largest Solar Power Systems at Michigan Assembly Plant; 2 MWh Battery Storage System

Ford, Detroit Edison and Xtreme Power are teaming up to establish one of Michigan’s largest solar power generation systems and electric vehicle charging stations at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich.

Ford will work with Detroit Edison to install a 500 kW solar photovoltaic panel system at Michigan Assembly. The system will be integrated with a 750 kW energy storage facility that can store 2 MWh of energy using batteries—enough to power 100 average Michigan homes for a year. Xtreme Power of Austin, Texas, is supplying its Dynamic Power Resource on-site energy storage and power management system.

The renewable energy captured by the project’s primary solar energy system will help power the production of fuel-efficient small cars, including Ford’s all-new Focus and Focus Electric going into production in 2011, and a next-generation hybrid vehicle and a plug-in hybrid vehicle coming in 2012. A secondary, smaller solar energy system will be integrated at a later date to power lighting systems at Michigan Assembly.

Renewable or green power supplies 3% of Ford’s energy needs worldwide.

The combined systems are expected to give Michigan Assembly the largest solar power array in Michigan and save an estimated $160,000 per year in energy costs. Installation of the system begins later this year.

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. This project is a part of the transformation of Michigan Assembly from a large SUV factory to a modern, flexible, and sustainable small car plant.

—Jim Tetreault, Ford vice president, North America Manufacturing

The solar energy installation is part of Detroit Edison’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 MW of electricity throughout Southeast Michigan.

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

Michigan Assembly will operate on a blend of renewable and conventional electricity. The renewable energy collected by the solar system will go directly into the energy-efficient microgrid to help provide power to the plant. When the plant is inactive, such as holidays, the collected solar energy will go into the energy storage system for later use, providing power during periods of insufficient or inconsistent sunlight.

Michigan Assembly’s energy storage system will be able to recharge from the grid during off-peak hours when energy is available at a lower cost. This in turn will provide inexpensive power during peak operating hours when the cost per kilowatt-hour is higher, and reduce peak demand on the grid.

Electric vehicle battery charging. 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. Ford also will demonstrate the possibility for using electrified vehicle batteries as stationary power storage devices after their useful life as vehicle power sources is over.

Michigan Assembly is the latest Ford manufacturing facility to utilize renewable power for production, said Sue Cischke, Ford group vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering.

Ford’s Dagenham Diesel Centre in the United Kingdom was the first automotive plant in the world to obtain all of its electrical power needs from on-site wind turbines. In addition, Ford’s Bridgend Engine Plant in Wales was the first site retrofitted with one of the largest integrated, grid-connected solar photovoltaic installations at a car manufacturing plant in Europe.

Since 2008, Ford has sourced renewable electricity to cover the full electric power demand at its manufacturing plant in Cologne, Germany. Through this initiative, the company is reducing its CO2 emissions 190,000 tons per year. Renewable or green power supplies 3% of Ford’s energy needs worldwide.


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