General Motors is committed to being an industry leader in environmental sustainability. As part of this commitment, GM is installing large scale solar arrays at their various manufacturing facilities. In 2014, GM looked to install their largest solar power facility in the Western hemisphere at their Lordstown complex. The Lordstown complex covers 905 acres and employs over 4,500 production and management staff.

The specifications of the solar array are impressive. The installation uses 8,500 solar PV panels to generate 2.2 MW of clean energy. The panels cover 6.5 acres, or approximately 270,000 square feet. The solar power provided by the panels helps power the manufacturing operations at the facility. This solar power installation allows GM to reduce their annual CO2 emission by 1,993 tons.

Planning and procurement for the project started in 2012; however, a variety of factors conspired to delay the project. Electrical installation work did not begin until November 2014, leaving little time to get the system up and running by the Dec. 31 completion date. Fortunately, our members were up for the challenge.

GM turned to Dickie Electric, an NECA member contractor. The contractor and workers from IBEW Local 573 were called on to complete the installation by the Dec. 31 deadline, while maintaining an emphasis on workplace safety and quality of work.

The crews worked long hours to help GM bring the new installation online before the New Year. People familiar with the weather in Northern Ohio can appreciate the challenges the local climate presented in this outdoor installation. Daytime highs were in the low thirties with brisk winds and snow further exacerbating the weather challenges.

Through November and December, our IBEW members logged long hours under unfavorable conditions. Working ten-hour days and six or seven days a week, the men and women of the Local 573 took great pride in being part of this installation. The project was completed on schedule and clean energy is now helping to power the facility.

This solar array is visible from the nearby Ohio Turnpike. Each day, tens of thousands of commuters pass by the site, providing a strong visual testament to GM’s commitment to solar energy and to the hard work of our members in completing this installation.

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