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Ford, DTE Energy to cover 360 parking spaces in solar panels

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Ford solar carport DTE energy artist rendering

Artist rendering shows the proposed 360-space solar carport to be installed at Ford Motor Company’s Dearborn, MI headquarters. (Image courtesy Ford Motor Company)

It’s the ultimate solar carport: Ford Motor Company’s Dearborn, MI headquarters will see 360 parking spaces covered by solar panels and get 30 new EV chargers charged by those solar panels.

A Ford press release said the Motor Company teamed with DTE Energy to make it happen. DTE reportedly funded the project, which provided Ford employees with 360 covered parking spaces and 30 charging stations for electric vehicles.

Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman Bill Ford said, “Ford has a long history of innovation and a deep commitment to sustainability. Our fundamental purpose as a company is to make people’s lives better. We do that by creating outstanding products, by investing in communities where our employees live and work, and by using technology to tackle global sustainability challenges. Those beliefs are embodied in this project.”

According to the press release, the solar carport will be able to produce enough juice to power 158 “average-sized” homes. The release said it will be the second-largest solar carport in the Midwest United States, with the largest being the 1.1-megawatt facility at Cincinnati Zoo. Ford estimated the solar carport will offset 794 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year.

Ford Motor Land Development Corporation CEO Donna Inch said, “We are thrilled to be collaborating with DTE Energy to bring a more efficient, renewable energy source to our offices. This is an innovative project that will benefit both DTE Energy and Ford, and is yet another example of our work toward building a more sustainable future.”

DTE Energy will construct, operate, and maintain the solar carport for 20 years, according to Ford. Construction should begin in September and be completed in early 2015. It will be the second collaboration between Ford and DTE in recent years, the release said, noting the two companies worked together to install a 500-kilowatt solar array at Ford’s Wayne, MI assembly plant.

DTE Energy Vice President of Marketing and Renewables Irene Dimitry said, “The SolarCurrents canopy project is another example of how DTE Energy and Ford are working to build a more energy-efficient and sustainable future. At the same time, this project will help us come closer to meeting Michigan’s renewable energy goals and diversify our energy portfolio.”

SolarCurrents is an initiative launched by DTE in 2009 that seeks to fulfill DTE’s commitment to generate 10% of its energy from renewable sources by 2015, the release said.

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