Ford's abandoned plant in Wixom, Michigan, is getting a new lease on life. The factory originally opened way back in 1957 during the glory years of the American automotive industry and it encompasses a massive 320 acres (4.7 million square-feet). By the fall of 2011, the Wixom plant won't really have much to do with cars, becoming instead the largest renewable energy park in the United States.

Two companies plan to invest $725 million into renovating the former Ford factory. Clairvoyant Energy of Santa Barbara, California will relocate its headquarters and produce solar panels in Wixom. Xtreme Power of Austin, Texas plans to build large-scale batteries to store power for the electric grid and from wind farms.

The promise of over 4,000 new jobs in Michigan was enough to garner a series of large tax breaks from the state and millions of dollars worth of grants from the federal government. For its part, Ford seems quite pleased with the direction its idled plant will take. Says executive chairman Bill Ford:
This is very much in line with a core principle we hold at Ford... I can't imagine a better way to use this facility for our children and our grandchildren. We're going to put this plant and the skilled workers of Michigan back to work.
[Source: The Detroit Free Press]

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