GM, DTE debut solar array at Warren Transmission Plant

Michael Martinez
The Detroit News

Warren — General Motors Co. has a bright idea for its Warren Transmission plant.

The Detroit automaker, in partnership with utility company DTE Energy, on Friday unveiled a 900-kilowatt solar array at the plant that will harness the sun to power the electrical needs of the surrounding community.

The array is the 24th such installation globally for GM, and its third — and largest — in Michigan. Its 2,862 solar panels are enough to cover the ice surface of Joe Louis Arena three times and generate enough electricity to power 155 homes annually.

DTE Energy will own and maintain the array and will lease the 4.25-acre space in the plant’s parking lot from GM.

“By partnering with DTE on this solar array, GM is helping bring green energy options to the Warren community,” said Rob Threlkeld, GM’s global manager of renewable energy. “Projects like these help GM better serve society by reducing environmental impacts.”

It’s unclear how much power the new array will provide Warren Transmission, since the energy will be directed from the array into DTE’s power grid and distributed throughout the community. Earlier this year, the automaker vowed to power all of its 350 facilities across the globe with 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.

Each of the nearly 3,000 solar panels includes 72 solar cells. Each panel produces about 300 watts of power, officials said. In total, the array will generate about 1.2 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year.

Officials say the array will last anywhere from 30-40 years, and can be upgraded as technology improves.

DTE began construction about two months ago. Neither company disclosed a price for the installation.

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Twitter: @MikeMartinez_DN