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17,000 solar panels heading for Toyota

08 Jun 2011

Work is under way to bring one of the largest solar parks in the country to Toyota’s South Derbyshire plant. 

Toyota solar panelsThe 17,000 panels will cover an area the size of four-and-a-half football pitches, and the 4,600,000 kWh (kilo-Watt hours) of electricity generated will be enough to produce 7,000 cars every year.

The motoring giant says that the ground-mounted panels will help reduce its carbon footprint by saving 2,000 tonnes in CO2 emissions a year.

The £10 million project is expected to be completed in July, when the panels will all be connected to the Burnaston factory — providing more than five per cent of its electricity.

Toyota says that it will be the first car manufacturer in the UK to utilise a largescale solar array.

Tony Walker, Toyota Manufacturing UK deputy managing director, said: “We are already making a significant contribution to the UK’s low carbon economy with production of Auris hybrid, the first European- built full hybrid car.

“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.

“Our vision going forward is that we want to be the most sustainable plant in the UK.”

Toyota said that the development was part of its ‘sustainable plant’ vision which aims to make manufacturing operations work ‘in harmony’ with the community and surrounding environment.

The project is in partnership with British Gash, which is paying for the panels and installing them.

Jon Kimber, managing director of British Gas New Energy, said: “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.

“Solar power has the potential to make this happen and really revolutionise the way Britain’s homes and businesses generate energy.

“Toyota is a real beacon for green business throughout the UK.”