Ford says the system, developed with Wind Energy Corporation, will include wind sails that capture energy from air currents and a solar-panel array, which together will generate more than 20,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. That's enough to power two average-sized homes for a year.
According to Ford, the Windy System, as it's called, is expected to offset almost 14 tons of greenhouse gases per year at each dealership, in addition to reducing facility costs.
"We are pleased to be working with Wind Energy Corporation to offer a pioneering, clean energy option to Ford dealers," said John Felice, Ford's vice president of U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service, in a statement. "This is yet another innovative tool to help Ford and its dealers address a global sustainability challenge."
As previously reported by Edmunds, among Ford's other visible commitments to sustainable energy is the installation earlier this year of a mammoth solar canopy — the second-largest in the Midwest — at its world headquarters in Michigan to provide charging for plug-in vehicles, including the 2015 Ford C-Max Hybrid Energi and Ford Fusion Energi.
Ford says the dealers chosen to participate in the Windy System pilot — Dana Ford Lincoln in Staten Island, New York; Tom Holzer Ford in Farmington Hills, Michigan; The Ford Store in Morgan Hill, California; and Fiesta Ford in Indio, California — were selected for both their commitment to clean energy and their wind- and solar-efficient locations.
Thomas "Buzzy" Holzer, vice president and director of operations for Tom Holzer Ford, told Edmunds that Ford wanted dealers in the program "who are leaders in their community, committed to green, have the necessary wind resources (10 mph average wind speed or above) and also have a good-looking dealership that is highly visible as well a city that would welcome new green technology."
Holzer said the Windy System will "save a little" in facility costs, but more importantly: "When people drive by and see the 65-foot turbine, they will know that we are committed to clean energy. Both we and the city of Farmington Hills will be that much more known in the eyes of the general public for being leaders in the new world of green technology."
Ashley Paulus, marketing manager for The Ford Store, told Edmunds that her dealership is already well known for its success in sales of clean-energy vehicles: "In 2013 we were the No. 1 Ford Energi dealer in the world, and currently in 2014 we are No. 2. We felt having Windy onsite would be a great way to incorporate sustainable energy into our dealership."
Paulus added that, in addition to reducing expenses, "we anticipate being able to charge our Energi and electric vehicles up to 1,350 times a year using power solely generated by Windy."
Edmunds says: Clearly, Ford — with the help of its dealers — is staking its claim as one of the industry leaders in the area of green technology.