GM dealerships plug into solar canopies

Twenty-four dealerships will have solar canopies installed to help promote GM's Chevy Volt plug-in car and lower their electricity costs.

Two dozen GM dealerships have signed up to install solar canopies to supplement their electricity use.
Two dozen GM dealerships have signed up to install solar canopies to supplement their electricity use. GM

Solar power is coming to General Motors dealerships in an initiative to highlight GM's plug-in Chevy Volt and spiff up dealers' green credentials.

GM said today that 24 dealerships will receive a solar canopy in its Green Zone initiative. The solar arrays will be installed by Sunlogics, a solar company in which GM Ventures has invested $7.5 million.

The solar canopies will generate enough electricity to fully charge 12 Chevy Volts per day. The solar arrays will also offset dealership's electricity bills by generating on-site power.

In a GM video, two of the first dealers with the solar canopies said they serve as a good way to showcase new cars, such as the Volt, and lower their operating expenses. One dealer said the charging stations are available to consumers for free.

Companies such as Sunlogics install solar arrays with a financing arrangement called a power purchasing agreement, which allows businesses to install solar panels without paying to own them. Businesses buy the power generated by the panels, while the financing company owns and maintains the panels.

"The beauty of this program is that there is no capital cost required from the dealership," Dave Halvorson, president of American Chevrolet in Modesto, Calif., said in a statement. "Not only do we generate the solar energy to increase our reliance on renewable electricity, but the Green Zone is a billboard of our commitment to the environment."

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