Modesto, Calif. — Along the farm belt of California, in sunny Modesto, is one of two Chevrolet dealers in the country with a solar carport for charging and marketing General Motors’s new electric car the Volt. The dealers are part of a program announced by GM last week and GM hired Michigan solar company Sunlogics to install these solar carports and charging stations (GM also invested $7.5 million into the company).
American Chevrolet in Modesto, along with Al Serra Auto Plaza in Michigan, are the first two of 24 dealers that have signed up for the marketing program, said GM spokeswoman Sharon Basel. GM and Sunlogics are paying the upfront costs of the installations, and the dealership pays a monthly fee, Basel told us.
We stopped by American Chevrolet to chat with its president, David Halvorson. Halvorson, who let me take the car out for a spin, said his dealership’s monthly payment is equivalent to the amount it saves on its utility bill by going solar. American Chevrolet is feeding the solar electricity to the grid, so its utility bill will be lower.
The difference between the utility bill before and after the installation is the amount the dealership owes to Sunlogics. The estimated annual payment is about $75,000, Halvorson said. Sunlogics gets to sell the renewable energy credits associated with the project, and after 10 years, American Chevrolet can pay another one year’s worth of payment in order to own the whole project. “The net cost to me is zero,” Halvorson said.
Although Sunlogics is a solar manufacturer and uses amorphous silicon for its solar panels, it used MiaSole’s copper-indium-gallium-selenide solar panels for the American Chevrolet solar canopy. Here are some photos:
Photos by Ucilia Wang