June 19, 2024

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Stellantis to make solar power push at southeast Michigan operations

Stellantis is looking to solar power to help cut its carbon footprint.

The automaker said it has made a clean energy commitment to add 400 megawatts of new solar projects in Michigan through DTE Energy’s MIGreenPower voluntary renewable energy program. DTE is a Detroit-based energy company.

The move by Stellantis is the second-largest renewable energy purchase ever made in the U.S. from a utility, and will prevent the emission of more than 670,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, the companies said.

This decision will allow Stellantis to attribute all of its electricity use to solar power at 70 southeast Michigan sites — both manufacturing and nonmanufacturing — by 2026, reducing the company’s carbon emissions across its North America facilities by half, including a 30 percent cut at its manufacturing plants.

This aggressive push into solar will help Stellantis reach its goal of carbon net zero emissions by 2038 — a major tenet of the automaker’s Dare Forward 2030 plan unveiled in March. To achieve carbon net zero status, Stellantis says it will address all sources of greenhouse gas emissions such as vehicle pollution and the supply chain itself.

“While this day and this historic agreement are about clean and efficient power, I’d like to suggest that today is also about the power of partnerships in this new era of sustainable mobility,” said Stellantis North America COO Mark Stewart, in a statement. “Our success — indeed our survival — will depend more and more on how completely we embrace the values of collaboration and partnership as strategic imperatives that help us achieve breakthrough business outcomes.”

The MIGreenPower program that Stellantis is participating in is one of the largest voluntary renewable energy programs in the U.S. DTE Energy has more than 800 businesses enrolled in the program, along with more than 75,000 residential customers.

On an annual basis, MIGreenPower customers have enrolled 4 million megawatt hours of clean energy in the program — equivalent to the prevention of more than 3 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year.

A DTE spokeswoman said construction is expected to begin for the Stellantis projects in 2024.

Stewart said the carbon net zero goal is “a key metric in all of our decisions.”

“Every project that we undertake, whether it’s a refreshed project or a new project, we have set goals that we’re going for in terms of what’s the reduction out of the gate and how do we get to zero?,” Stewart told reporters Monday after an event announcing the plan at the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant.  “I think this is another great, great example of that, so we are looking at every single project.”