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GM announces 1.8MW solar project at Toledo Transmission plant

General Motors announced that a 1.8-megawatt rooftop solar array at its Toledo Transmission plant in Ohio would be completed next month. The project, which will generate nearly 3% of the plant’s overall electricity consumption, will be the largest rooftop array in Ohio. The energy produced will be enough to power 200 homes in the United States.

Separately, GM was also recognized today by the Solar Energy Industries Association, or SEIA, as a “Solar Champion” at its annual awards luncheon at Solar Power International 2013 in Chicago. The award recognizes companies that significantly impact establishment of a strong solar industry in America.

By the end of 2013, GM will have more than 40 megawatts of solar energy installed at its facilities globally, with two of the five largest rooftop solar arrays in the world located at its Opel Rüsselsheim facility in Germany and its Zaragoza Assembly plant in Spain.

Rolling more solar into our manufacturing process is not only good for the planet, but it provides a boon for our bottom line, as well.

—Rob Threlkeld, GM manager of renewable energy

Additionally, nine GM facilities have solar EV charging canopies on their grounds that employees and visitors can use to charge electric vehicles. General Motors has 395 workplace charging stations at facilities across the United States, and has provided 4,300 EV charging stations to dealers.



I would like for GM to discuss whether there is a real cost savings here, with their solar installations or whether they consider the PR as part of the benefit to them. I say that because I believe that if they are doing it largely for PR purposes, they will begin to see diminishing returns in that regards since most people know that a legitimate EV industry would have far larger benefits in regards to environmental stewardship than minimal solar installations design simply to give an impression to the gullible.

Kit P

It is PR.

If there was a cost saving PV would be done routinely without a press release. There have been thousands of such press releases and zero report of actual benefits.

The environmental cost of PV is huge. The benefit only comes when power is produced that offsets some other source of power.

It would be very poor green washing to report that the PV installed on your roof did not work very well.

“legitimate EV industry”

Still waiting for that to happen. Both EV and PV are bad environmental ideas promoted by those who never spent a day in a class learning how to protect the environment.


Call me one of the gullible. BEVs will never provide an environmental benefit whilst the electricity supply is from coal - what you need is a low CO2 supply, for example solar. Distributed generation through a large number of micro sources could have a large effect, though not convinced it will ever be cost effective.

Roger Pham

Quoting from the article:
"Rolling more solar into our manufacturing process is not only good for the planet, but it provides a boon for our bottom line, as well.

—Rob Threlkeld, GM manager of renewable energy"

So, that ought to answer the question of whether solar PV has save money for GM or not!

Kit P


If you believe that then your are more than gullible. Roger has the metalitity of a 5th grader.


GM should realize that there is a huge potential in this industry, rather investing as a part of their PR activity, GM should consider this on bigger scale, Here is http://goo.gl/ypPaxm why i believe it should be considered.

Roger Pham

@Kit P,
Not just GM, but Honda, Volkswagen, etc are using solar and wind increasing in their factories. Walmart and Cosco, the leading value leaders, are using massive amount of solar PV's on their rooftops. If the companies that thrive on being the low-cost leader are adapting solar PV, then that is proof. No need to believe just GM...I see your point regarding the low credibility of GM when it comes to Green Credential!



Kit P


“then that is proof”

It is only proof that many companies that market to gullible people engage in greenwashing.

So you have companies promoting rampant consumerism telling you it is okay because they put solar panels on their roof.

Roger Pham

@Kit P,
Walmart serves mostly those who worries more about how they will be able to pay the bills rather than worrying about the environment. Walmart is the biggest user of solar PV on their rooftops. When Walmart does it, we know for sure that it is about cost saving rather than Green Washing.

Kit P

"we know for sure that it is about cost saving rather than Green Washing."

I know for sure that that is not true. PV does not save cost. It is indeed very expensive.


Try this too KP http://cleantechnica.com/2013/10/25/dirty-tricks-arizonas-net-metering-war/


Kit P
- well known as a mouthpiece for fossil fuels and concentrated energy supplies.

That is interesting as I bet he also supports small govt, deregulation, small business and individual freeoms - in short a classic republican 'tea party' style advocate.

That would explain the increasingly desperate tone of his thoughtless rants.

Just can't accept change or support valid optimism.
This character trait has been strengthening inversely to the demise of his? favorite team.

Most heavy users of electricity pay at a negotiated reduced bulk rate.
Therefore have less incentive to self generate.
Domestic users (in my case) can pay a service and supply availability charge equivalent to the the KW rate.
In my case that is domestic ~32c KW e and 32c KW to supply. Total ~63c KW.
When my current solar incentive 60c gross ceases in 2015-16 I will be looking at (currently) statewide options from 12c;8c; 0c. I can only choose from the late.

Having installed solar as a byproduct of service upgrade to run ~ 30A @240v welder/ compressor / plasma,

I am in a difficult situation of needing serious supply very infrequently.

I have every reason to believe that I will be able to supply off grid cheaper than the E co's by then and definitely if I were able to use V2-Home.

Kit P


“In my case ”

Your case is not GM in Toledo Ohio. I used to live 4 houses down from Toledo when I worked at Fermi. Aside from two nuke plants near Toledo there are several coal plants. I have a good idea of the cost of generating power.

You do not say where you live or why your rates are so high. I would not rule out economical specific cases where solar PV could be economical. However, as in Arnold case and every other case the such claims set off my BS meter.



the meter (invaluable) needs to be 'tuned' for the environment in which it operates an that can change on a daily basis.

My last bill shows a neg .07 tons carbon footprint and returned a credit AU$51.95.

My supplier on NSW mid north coast is Origin energy owned Country Energy.

I am reliably informed (from memory) that the current rate C.E. will pay for a new install is )AU$0.00.
[these figures may be reversed]Origin Customers is ~8c and ? will pay 12c. There was a a recent inquiry that recommended a 10c rebate to customers to properly reflect the service transmission and supply.
'Green Energy' has been a gold standard service for those who want / can afford to pay for qualifying renewable e sources.

My system is 1.92 KW rated with a Chinese gri only inverter rated for 2.8KW ( as I specified the German 2.5, but hey I was advised (after installation) that the Chinese was better..blah blah)

I Recall seeing 1.78KW/ 1.8**?.
The only reason 4 more 250W panels are not fitted as an addendum is that under the contract I cannot alter and the installer didn't understand that it could have been described as a 2.8 system.
That would have returned me a profit.

If anyone cares to google "gold plated transmission NSW" you may well see that there was a grand expose of the utter scam and thuggery employed by the local grid provider Transgrid. They lost the little guys beat the sh outa them.

but the conservative State and Federal govt's continue with the line (lies) that recent increases in electricity prices are a result of the ' Carbon price/ green power specifically the domestic solar incentive.

In fact they crow about the fact? that e price rises across the country and specifically N.S.S.W. lost the recent Labour gov't power. "the people have spoken they crow" "We will abolish the carbon tax in financial year end June 2014. (nthe exact same moment that the 'Carbon Tax' is to exit the scene anyway as it was an interim political solution and was to be (under more favorable political circumstance) replaced by cap and trade.

Mull this over do google it Manning Alliance Transgrid as I am offnet for a day.


There is I.M.O. a


The grid benefits from distributed renewables esp solar when the cooling requirements increase logarithmically to the amount of A.C.Air installed. Less so with refrigeration.

There would I expect be a loss of advantage for those few evening hours when the A.C. is still operating into the evening.

Locally a proposed diesel peaking plant was rejected by local opposition 4-5y ago.

At the same time a very sensible Qld to Sydney natgas line that could have supplied peakW to the highest population density ares Sydney Brisbane east coast terminated at 70% + into the build denying access to some of the largest population areas of the country.

Of course every situation has its own specific requirements but equally generalisations is valid for statistical purposes.(I.M.O)

Kit P


Thanks for the information.

“NSW mid north coast ”

Since you live in Australia, that explains why the terminology is different. Both Ohio (where I was born) and Australia produce cheap coal. Ohio is an industrial state. I happen to live in Virginia but my utility (American Electric Power) also produces power in Ohio. The generating cost for coal here is about 3 cents per kwh. My retail rate after transmission costs, taxes, taxes, and taxes is 11 cents per kwh. The only more I could save would be on the generating cost. I still gave to pay for service unless I would disconnect form the grid.

If a I has a 2 kw system, I could save 14 cents per hour when the sun is shinning and the roof is not shaded by the 40 trees I have.

It is my understand that Australia instituted a carbon tax that double the cost of brown coal. A huge feed in tariff was provided for PV.

“returned a credit AU$51.95 ”

Arnold do you like stealing from your neighbors with the help of the government? That is what it amounts to. Also the PV system will likely fail and not pay the cost of installing it. If you are lucky your house will not burn down when the system fails. This is no grid benefit for PV. Make up whatever story you want.

There are lots of things you can do to reduce the amount of power you use. In California, I built a passive solar house that did not need heat or cooling. Thermal mass, a few more inches of roof over hangs, and low-e glass are very cost effective.

When I live near Toledo, we did not need AC but had very cold winters. The house was large with lots of single pane windows to enjoy the view of the water. The house was built when power was very cheap and had straight resistant heating. I put in a air tight wood stove and had built a Florida room (enclosed with glass the porch with large French doors).

My point is that there many low cost things to reduce your bill. PV on houses is a scam.

Keep letting me know how your system works. Change my mind at the risk of needing a thick skin.


My location is 34 degrees south,
Frames angles optimised.
8 panel BYD 240W System 1.9KW.Installed 2011.
Site difficulty high - 1,800mm p.a.rainfall + consistently high cloud resulting in low average output.
Biggest hazard identified - mice stripping cabling.
Maximum output recorded on service meter 1.947
Total kWh 6628 on service meter
Total on inverter 6623kWh.
Grid inverter described as 'Inspire solar 2800.


My ~ depending on read day, 3 month meter totals in kWh:
572 (.35ton CO2), 668(.31), 363(.31), 631(.50), 713(-.4), 607(-.07). reflects solar max/ min.

Am I Happy - you bet
Am I a believer - you bet.

2 glycol panel solar HWS with stainless 300 liter storage and 2400W e boost. e boost required For my lifestyle since ~ y2008
has totaled 4 occasions @ 10 to 60 minutes.
and the 2 or so occasions I forgot to turn off.

Distance to town 90min return.
I figure I could comfortably renewable e drive every 10 days which would work or increase 2*min 3*max panels and Vehicle to to Home and be off grid.

I find the too expensive line irksome when many spend up big on luxury items and new cars.

My last 3 or 4 vehicles cost Xcluding exotic two wheelers, (at proper value) $0. + rebuild Reco motor or other to my standard average ownership 5 - 10 years. Qualified Motor Vehicle (registration)Inspector.Mech 40+yrs exp
, Eletronics Trade 111,Horticulture Climbing Arborist 111, Level 1 equestrian disabilities. etc etc.

I want to smart grid, distributed affordable power (both types), e cars, relevant education esp young ones
a sustainable continued human presence through self awareness and understanding our environment.

Kit P

“Biggest hazard identified - mice stripping cabling. ”

All PV systems have hazards of fire, electrocution, and becoming wind born missile hazards. This is why I am against idiots making their own power with systems sold by scam artist.

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