US auto giant General Motors is adding the world's largest rooftop solar photovoltaic power installation to its car assembly plant in Figueruelas in Zaragoza in Spain, where it currently builds the Opel Corsa, Opel Meriva and the Opel Combo.
When the project is completed later this year, the Zaragoza solar installation will cover about 2,000,000 square feet of roof at the plant and comprise about 85,000 solar panels.
When fully operational, it will generate about 15.1m kWh of power annually, equivalent to the demand of 4,575 households with an average annual consumption of 3,300kWh.
On the Zaragoza project, General Motors joined forces with Clairvoyant Energy, Veolia Environmental and the Government of Aragon to develop the renewable energy system. General Motors plans to lease the roof space to Clairvoyant Energy and Veolia Environment, who will then build, own and operate the rooftop solar installation. For its part, United Solar Ovonic will provide its UNI-SOLAR thin film flexible solar laminates for the project.
General Motors currently has two of the largest solar power installations in the US on the roofs of its Rancho Cucamonga and Fontana, California parts warehouses.
The Rancho Cucamonga project was the first public solar project in the US over 1MW, when it began operating in 2006. The solar panels provide about 50 per cent of the electricity needed to power the facility.
The Fontana project, also 1MW, became operational in December 2007. It generates about 1.3m kWh hours of electricity a year, which is about the amount needed to power 200 homes yearly.