General Motors Getting Greener

By late 2020 General Motors claims its Spring Hill plant will be 100 percent solar powered.

Their green tariff with the Tennessee Valley Authority should supply as much as 100 megawatts of solar energy per year, equivalent to the yearly usage of 18,000 US households. The energy will come from the Origis Energy solar farm being built in Lowndes County, Mississippi

The project is possible through the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Green Invest program.

This will increase General Motor’s renewable energy usage to 50% of its electricity usage by 2023. General Motor’s coal is to have 100% renewable electricity usage at all its GM-owned cites by 2030.

Green tariff solutions are a primary part of General Motor’s renewable energy plan. They let the company work with utility providers to provide renewable energy for its facilities.

At 2,100 acres Spring Hill is the largest GM facility in North America. 700 acres of used for farming, another 100 are a wildlife habitat that includes wetlands and native grasslands. The wildlife habitat received a Gold rating from the Wildlife Habitat Council. The actual plant itself makes Acadias, Cadillac XT5s and XT6’s as well as several of GM’s engines.

General Motors is ranked number 12 on the United State’s EPA National Top 100 List for largest green power users from their Green Power Partnership program. The EPA has stated that General Motor’s choice to use green energy helps to promote voluntary switch over to renewable energy and helps develop those resources.


Toyota Testing Solar Prius

A super team consisting of Sharp Corp, Toyota Motor Corp, the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization of Japan (NEDO) have come together to develop a Prius that could someday completely change the face of transportation. This Prius would be 100% solar powered, would run day and night and might, theoretically, run forever.

While fully electric cars might take over fossil fueled market, it would require a total infrastructure remodel with the need for charging stations to be built world-wide. The sun, obviously, is everywhere and free. If solar collection and power storage are up to the task of running solar cars at night the solar car could jump ahead of hybrids, plug-ins and hydrogen fuel cell to make its bid as the alternative, renewable energy source.

Don’t get too excited though—the solar car is more dream and theory than tangible at the moment. However, this is for lack of effort on auto makers’ parts—both Hyundai and Toyota do offer solar panels on some commercial models, but they can’t even power the stereo systems on their own.

Since testing began in July, Toyota is the first to admit that a solar car that runs 24 hours a day is still in the future. Meanwhile, the technology to needed to make this happen is advancing.

Sharp has seen the most advancement by increasing their experimental solar panels light conversion efficiency by about 1.7 times—from 20% to 34%. The amazing solar panel tech is only .03 mm thick meaning it can be placed on plenty of surfaces. Even something like a curved roof or hood. These panels can charge the vehicle while in motion (current Prius solar panels only charge while the vehicle is parked).