Ford Motor Co. signed an agreement with Sonora80M to purchase 3 megawatts of one of the largest photovoltaic (PV) farms being built in Mexico. Sonora80M’s 20 megawatt PV farm is located in Hermosillo in the Mexican state of Sonora, where the company fittingly produces hybrid and other electric vehicles. It’s latest effort by Ford, which already has installed solar at manufacturing facilities in Germany and Michigan to incorporate more clean energy in its manufacturing processes.
"One of the main concerns in the business is to safeguard the environment," said Jose Islas, director of manufacturing at Ford of Mexico. "That's why, in addition to producing hybrid and electric vehicles in our Hermosillo plant, from the first quarter of 2014, we will be using solar energy for our operations. Through the use of this energy source, [we] seek to reduce our carbon footprint and lower the cost associated with the use of electrical input, resulting in higher levels of productivity and competitiveness for the company.”
The off-site installation will consist of 20 megawatts in its first phase, which is slated for completion in 2014. But this is only part of the larger, four-phase, 80 megawatt project. At this point Sonora80M has signed 25-year power purchase agreements with numerous municipalities in Mexico, as well as with Ford for the power that the first phase of the project will produce.
"This agreement with Ford demonstrates the strength and success of Sonora80M as pioneers in the development of solar energy in Mexico. Before Sonora80M, Mexico solar potential was not exploited. Today, seven municipalities of Sonora (Alamos, Caborca, Splice, Etchojoa, Guaymas, Santa Ana and Hermosillo) and a large company like Ford, rely on us to join the path of respect for the environment, supporting Mexico in compliance with the Kyoto Protocol," said Cesar Martin, Sonora80M’s group director.
Ford has previously installed a 500-kW PV array at its Wayne, MI, Ford Michigan Assembly Plant and last year completed anarray in Germany that produces 1,100 megawatt hours annually. The company also has partnered with other companies — in the U.S., SunPower; and in Germany, RheinEnergie — to offer its EV owners a chance to power their vehicles with solar power. In the U.S., SunPower can install the PV arrays on a home under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).
The company has dubbed its consumer-centric solar program MyEnergi Lifestyle and has partnered with a number of companies for renewable energy and energy efficiency, including KB Homes, Whirlpool and Eaton. Similar efforts are underway at other auto manufacturers, like GM, which has solar installed at multiple locations across the world.
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