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Ford, Detroit Edison and Extreme Power Working to Build One of Michigan’s 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.



This is pretty exciting. Not a new concept (solar panels on roof of factory) but the solar energy storage is relatively new. All the energy collected will ultimately be used within the local system - nothing will go to the larger regional grid.

This is also smart: "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."


This is a big deal and quite an investment. Of course, working with the local utilities could eliminate the storage, but this has advantages. It is the central/distributed model.

In the past we have been central, the future may favor distributed. There was a science program that described the magnetic field and solar activity. The grid is vulnerable, so until they harden it, distributed can add an extra margin of robustness.

We are going to need both a grid and distributed, but they need to work together. I favor the solar panels and batteries at home with EVs. This says even IF the grid is harmed and there is no electricity for fueling stations, we can still get things done.

This is a bit off topic, but they talked about transformer damage and how they would have to be replaced. But how do you build new transformers with no electricity? It is not quite a survivalist setting, but it gives pause for thought.


Totally agree SJC. Solar panels with batteries at home with EV's is the future (hopefully)...and definitely a more individualistic American concept vs. centralized monopolistic power production.


I don't think individuals give much thought to the big picture, they are taking care of their own situation and that is normal. If we can steer the self interest towards the general interest, we may be ahead of the game.


Ford gets a big credit and $5M in grants to build this project. Stored solar makes perfect sense for charging EVs and this should be an influential pilot program.

You guys are on it right. But distributed energy production STRENGTHENS community rather than fractures it. Why? Because when the central grid goes down everybody is in the dark. When your neighbor's RPU fails - he has local grid backup, meaning each neighbor contributes some energy and looks out for the other.

This IS the wave of the future for energy generation and use. It empowers the individual home and multi unit housing while building a new, smaller grid based on local community. What is eliminated is inefficient long distance transmission lines, transformers, poles and their very high cost of maintenance.

Yes, there will be central power plants for big business, government and industry. But removing just a third of the residential burden from the grid and replacing it with rooftop solar and NG fueled SOFCs - will greatly enhance security and reliability. AND limit the need for coal fired power new and old.

ejj order for mass adoption to occur, it's just like EV's ---- it all comes down to costs for the consumer vs. benefits. The cheaper the solar panels and batteries and EV's are, the more people will get them. We cannot expect our bankrupt government to incentivize them further through more tax credits without expanding the deficit even more and the federal reserve printing more money....then again with this administration we can't rule that out.


If we did not borrow $6 trillion for two wars and tax breaks the last 8 years, we would have some room to move, even with an "Ownership Society" encouragement of the sub prime bubble.


The person in this clip is one of the culprits of our great recession...listen carefully to the whole's INSANE...


Fords has taken many good decisions lately and it is paying dividends.


The interesting thing about virtually any economic state is there are always countering indicators. The links show that consumer electronics, startups and certain retailers are doing just fine.

Travel to Europe and look at the people piling into restaurants and clubs night and day. In this world anything can be fabricated and re-imagined into negative appearance.

Most people need a fuel efficient vehicle before they need a shiny new iPhone. But that hasn't slowed anyone from buying them. EVs and Residential Power units and solar/wind will free people from the yoke of petroleum. But if we believe we cannot sell or afford them - petroleum will win another round. Who's fomenting this recession and who will it benefit most??

That ain't conspiracy. It's business.


@ eij

In case you were on a different planet from 2000 to 2008 the deficit spending started under Bush Jr. and the Repubs. Clinton left the Whitehouse with a surplus in place. The Bank bailouts also started under Bush.


Don't confuse anyone with the facts when they are true believers.


@ Mannstein: Bush deficits were ~ $400 Billion before the bank bailout...and a little thing called 9/11 and establishment of Dept. of Homeland Securtiy played a role in the deficits up until the bank bailout. The bank bailout was a result of the collapse of the real estate market, which was driven by severely flawed policies of Fannie and Freddie, originating with Mr. Frank (& others) and the utopian belief that everyone deserves a $400k house via a subprime loan with no money down. Now, all of the responsible people get to pick up the tab for the irresponsible people...with the government printing money to pay for some of it also.

Here is a great discussion from CNBC today...I've got the clip starting at about the 5 minute mark when it really gets good but you can easily rewind it and watch the whole thing. Rick Santelli is the only one making sense.

Henry Gibson

The reports on solar electricity generation on WIKI show that the price is three times that of the most efficient natural gas generators.

There would be large scale Solar or wind projects if there were no government credits and mandates.

The first large scale windmill failed in 1945 after operating at power for only a few months at most. No more were built in the US until about 1970 because they are not profitable in competition with some other units. Lobbiests and anti nuclear activists have force the costs of nuclear power plants to be ten times more costly than is needed for far more safety than a stairway provides.

People would be far more safe if automobiles were banned, and there was a nuclear reactor in each square mile.

Just look up potassium in Wikipedia and the original source quoted to find out that every live thing that ever existed, including you, is radioactive and exposes others to radioactivity. On a regular basis, not even the operators of a nuclear power plant get as much radioactivity from the reactor as they get from their own body. Just imagine the nearly 4000 gamma rays that you own body sends out into the world and other bodies every second. You! Yes You! You are a collection of nuclear wastes from start that also concentrates radioactive materials from foods and gives off gamma rays. You are a moving nuclear reactor that gives off gama rays, and every bit of energy you use or eat comes from fusion in stars or the sun or fission of elements created in the stars or suns. ..HG..

Henry Gibson

But there would be very few large scale wind or solar energy projects. ..HG..


Henry, Henry... it's all about "levels" of radioactivity. The level of our bodies is so miniscule as to be unmeasurable. The level inside a reactor is deadly. Big difference there.
It is reasonable to be worried about deadly levels.
You'd be better off making the argument that nukes don't release another potentially harmful substance: CO2


"every bit of energy you use or eat comes from fusion in stars or the sun or fission of elements created in the stars or suns. ..HG."

This statement does not acknowledge quantized energy in the vacuum which we know exists via casimir effect.

Unfortunately we live in a world consumed by people wishing to control it. But the old mechanisms for doing so are now outdated - like an old horse drawn carriage. Economic recession, gloom and doom, climate and infectious disease are just a few of the devices used to intimidate the power of mind. Their time is just about over.


Why everything should be the cheapest all the time? If cost is always the priority:

We could go barefoot most of the time and save a fortune on shoes.
Ladies could shave their head and save at lot on hair dressing.
Smokers should not be treated for lung cancer and heart related diseases.
Smoking and eating high fructose food could be banned because of extremely high health cost and other negative effects on productivity.
Fat and sweet foods should be restricted to avoid costly obesity.
Trucking should be restricted in favor of lower cost rails.
Local flights should be restricted in favor of lower cost buses and trains.

The notion of lower cost (at all times) can be questioned. To pay a bit more for better food, air, water, vehicles etc may be good investments.


I Agree Harvey,

Anyway, in the good old 'golden sixties' electricity was much more expensive than even non-subsidised solar power today, and certainly much more expensive than wind power.

How many hours did the modal American have to work to buy 1000 kWh ?
We become so much richer, simply because of technological advance, but most don't even realise it.
(I am not talking about 'the rich', but about the modal citizen)
Compared to the enormous increase in wealth, it would cost almost nothing if we would be prepared to pay a little more for more sound energy.
Macro-economically it would even make money, but that is apparently too complex to explain to most modal people

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