The Role of General Motors in the U.S Transition to Unsustainable Renewable Energy

The latest announcement from General Motors was about 180-megawatt solar projects. One exciting part about this project is that its power is equal to approximately 47,882 homes annually. The solar energy source is photovoltaic solar modules, whereas its location will be First Solar, Inc. solar field in Arkansas. According to the agreement, General Motors will be at liberty to store energy then use it in the future.

The agreement is significant for the company because it could change some statistics associated with it. One of them is its 11th position in the list of the largest renewable power off-takers in the United States. It will also see its renewable energy use go beyond 1 gigawatt. Nevertheless, it can only cement that it is leading in the same way as the manufacturing industry. The purchase agreement will see two General Motors Site transform to being powered by solar energy fully. They are both in the Midwest, namely Wentzville Assembly and Lansing Delta Township Assembly in Missouri and Michigan. The rest of the power will be directed to the Lansing Grand River Assembly.

First Solar official, Georges Antoun, who serves as the chief commercial officer, expressed the company’s appreciation towards the decision by General Motors. According to him, it is evident that GM supports solar technology, and the investment will go towards powering factories that play a huge role in industrial resurgence around the Midwest. On the other hand, he added that the company is happy to help GM manufacture using sustainable solar electricity. Consequently, GM will be better suited to move towards a zero-emission future while maintaining its track record in automotive excellence. 

First Solar is among the nine largest solar manufacturers globally. Still, it is the only one with headquarters in the U.S. Its investment in expanding the Ohio factories exceeds $1 billion so far. In addition to the cash flow, it offers direct jobs to 2500 employees in the U.S and a considerable fraction, 1600 employees, work in the manufacturing facilities. There are also indirect jobs since it has over 240 supplies across Ohio.

Dane Parker, Chief Sustainability Officer at GM, explains the reason behind the solar project. He claims that sustainability is also paramount as much as the goal is towards zero-emissions and all-electric future. No wonder GM is looking for a source of power that is emission-free and renewable and powerful enough to support the factories and the vehicles simultaneously.

It is the third renewable project by GM. It is relentless in supporting green power use voluntarily through such projects. Fortunately, the company has already received recognition for the same. It was the winner of the 2020 Green Power Leadership Award. GM continues to support green power through power purchase agreements and on-site renewable energy and green tariffs projects.


By Christopher Stern

Christopher Stern is a Washington-based reporter. Chris spent many years covering tech policy as a business reporter for renowned publications. He has extensive experience covering Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, and other federal agencies. He is a graduate of Middlebury College.
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