BusinessGreen: Car manufacturer to fit 17,000 photovoltaic panels at Debyshire plant, generating enough power to build 7,000 cars a year.
Toyota looks set to install a £10m solar array to power operations at its Derbyshire plant after the local authority granted planning approval for the ambitious project.
The company has already started work to fit around 17,000 panels on 90,000 square metres of industrial land – an area slightly smaller than four and a half football pitches – within the plant’s boundaries.
It says the array will be capable of supplying enough energy to build around 7,000 cars a year at the plant, which produces Auris hybrid, Auris and Avensis cars, as well as saving the company 2,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.
British Gas will install and fund the panels, which should begin supplying power to the plant in July, allowing the installation to get in ahead of the government’s proposed cuts to feed-in tariffs for large solar arrays.
“With energy costs increasing and a tough financial climate, all businesses are looking at ways to cut their bills as well as reduce their carbon emissions,” said Jon Kimber, managing director of British Gas New Energy. “Solar power has the potential to make this happen and really revolutionise the way Britain’s homes and businesses generate energy.”
Toyota claims it will be the first UK car manufacturer to install a large-scale solar panel array and said the move is part of the company’s wider strategy of lowering the company’s carbon footprint.
“Generating solar power on-site to supply electricity to the plant underlines our commitment to do even more to further reduce our carbon footprint and is yet another example of our environmental leadership,” said Tony Walker, deputy managing director at Toyota Manufacturing UK.