General Motors is smoking its tires on solar. Today (July 29), it launched a new campaign to allow its dealerships across the U.S. to install Chevrolet Green Zones, solar-powered electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. It’s the latest sustainability effort from the automotive manufacturer and will help put a public face on its efforts.
While promotional, the canopies are also practical, because when they’re not charging cars, they’re providing power for the dealerships themselves, potentially cutting electric use at the dealerships by up to 25 percent, according to Mary Alice Kurtz, GM manager of renewables and energy.
The announcement follows the tire tracks of the company’s announcement yesterday that its venture capital arm, GM Ventures, invested $7.5 million in Sunlogics and reached three agreements with the solar company. One of those agreements was to develop 10-year power purchase agreements with dealerships that install the Green Zone canopies, Kurtz said.
“We’re opening that opportunity up not only to our manufacturing plants, but also to our Chevrolet dealers,” Kurtz said. “It’s not a mandate but an opportunity for them to participate.”
Already two dealerships, American Chevrolet in Modesto, Calif., and Al Serra Auto Plaza in Grand Blanc, Mich., have installed the canopies, according to Kurtz. But there’s a number of other dealerships that are lining up for the canopies.
“I have approximately up to 24 dealerships that are signed to our agreement and going through the process,” she said. “And many more that have verbally committed and haven’t gotten the paperwork back to me.”
In all, more than 100 dealerships across the U.S. have shown interest in installing a solar canopy, Kurtz said.
“The whole momentum has really grown in the last few weeks. The dealers are really excited about it,” she said. “The dealers are recognizing the opportunities for them, their customers and their communities.”
All dealerships are covered under GM’s agreement with Sunlogics. Under the agreement, a dealership can sign up for a 10-year power-purchase agreement for a Green Zone.
“It’s a turnkey project. The dealers, all they pay is an annual fee,” Kurtz said. The fee starts at $8,500 per year.
The canopies are offered in two different sizes, six-bay canopies and 12-bay canopies, according to Kurtz. From there, dealerships can decide how many bays they want.
Image courtesy of GM.