Dearborn, Michigan – One of the largest solar power generation systems in Michigan will be built at Ford’s assembly plant in Wayne, helping to power production of small cars and recharge electric vehicles.

Ford is teaming with Detroit Edison, Xtreme Power and the state of Michigan to establish the solar generation plant. Power from the system will be used at the assembly plant in 2011 and 2012, with a smaller, secondary system integrated at a later date to power lighting systems inside the plant.

The combined systems are expected to give the Michigan Assembly Plant the largest solar power array in Michigan, and save an estimated US$160,000 per year in energy costs. The plant will operate on a blend of renewable and conventional electricity, and when the plant is inactive, such as during holidays, the collected solar energy will go into an energy storage system for later use to provide power during periods of insufficient or inconsistent sunlight.

Installation of the system will begin this year, funded with a $3 million investment by Detroit Edison’s SolarCurrents program, a $2 million grant from the Michigan Public Service Commission, and approximately $800,000 from the automaker.

Ford will also install ten electric vehicle charging stations at the plant 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. In addition, Ford will demonstrate the possibility of using vehicle batteries as stationary power storage devices after their useful life in a vehicle is over.

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