Ford is planning to build a solar canopy covering 360 parking spaces at their world headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan near Detroit. The company, which is teaming with DTE Energy, will spend roughly $5 million to construct the 1.038 megawatt project, which when completed in 2015 will be the largest solar array in the state.
Thirty of the spaces covered by the solar canopy will include charging stations for plug-in electric vehicles, or EVs, with the most likely of these being the hybrid Ford Fusion Energi and the recently announced C-Max Solar Energi. Ford says the C-Max Solar Energi car has a “special solar concentrator lens similar to a magnifying glass” that helps boost the efficiency of the canopy-like rooftop solar cells, which can also shift position to follow the sun as it moves across the sky.
Of the recent solar rooftop announcement, Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford Motor Company, said “Ford has a long history of innovation and a deep commitment to sustainability,” and that the project “embodies the companies ideals.”
DTE will build, operate, and maintain the carport for 20 years. This is the second collaboration between Ford and DTE Energy. In 2010, the companies teamed up to install a 500-kilowatt solar photovoltaic panel system at Ford assembly plant where the C-MAX Energi, among other cars, is built.
It will be the second-largest solar carport in the Midwest, after a 1.1-megawatt facility at the Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio. It will reduce the amount of electricity Ford pulls from the grid to run its offices, offsetting an estimated 794 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.