The Toyota Burnaston car plant's solar power system has officially come on stream in order to help meet the plant's electricity demand and reduce its solar footprint.
The solar power system, which is the largest installed by any UK vehicle manufacturer, adds to the plant's environmental profile as of Toyota's 'eco-factories'.
The 17,000 solar panel array installed at Burnaston covers 90,000m2 and has the capability to save 2000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year with an energy saving equivalent to 4.6 million kWh which is roughly the power demanded by the plant to build 7000 cars a year.
A range of energy saving features have been installed alongside the system, including a brise soleil - a sunshade of solar panels which are fitted above windows - and a wall of solar glass which replace existing windows.
The solar panels cost over £10million and were installed and paid for my British Gas who will claim the feed-in tariff which is a Government scheme designed to increase solar power generation system uptake which sees owners being paid for the renewable electricity they produce.
Tony Walker, Toyota Manufacturing UK Deputy Managing Director, said: "The launch of the new solar array marks a further significant step in our journey towards low carbon and sustainable manufacturing. This development is a key part of our 'sustainable plant' vision in which our production facilities are designed to work in harmony with our local community and surrounding environment. Our aim is to be a true eco plant producing eco cars built by eco-minded people."
Colin MacDonald, Head of Microgeneration at British Gas, said: "This new solar array - one of the biggest in the UK - demonstrates how an energy intensive industry like manufacturing can lead the way to a low carbon future. As well as improving Derbyshire's green credentials, we hope it will act as a beacon for other homes and businesses throughout the county to think about renewable energy."
Frank McArdle, Chief Executive of South Derbyshire District Council, Burnaston's local planning authority, said: "Toyota has clearly invested for the future with the installation of these solar panels. This in itself is a sign of the confidence it has in its plant in Burnaston and puts this area at the cutting edge of green technology."
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