VW builds car industry's largest solar installation in Spain


German car giant Volkswagen has completed work on the largest solar installation in the automobile industry – a 53,000 solar panel rooftop array located at the SEAT factory in Martorell.

The 11 MW project, known as Seat al Sol, covers a total of 270,000 m² and will generat 15,000,000 kWh of clean solar power per year. VW calculate that the installation will reduce the factory’s carbon emissions by 7,000 tons per year.

SEAT and VW teamed up with Gestamp Solar on the installation, which was carried out without disruption to the plant’s production schedule. The rooftop installation also offers shading and rain protection to completed cars that are parked there and awaiting transportation to dealerships.

In total, SEAT has invested €35 million in the Seat al Sol project as part of the Spanish car maker’s wider commitment to reducing its environmental impact. Additional schemes include the completion of two train lines from the Martorell factory, and the installation of a cogeneration plant that generates 90% of the thermal energy the facility uses.

SEAT executive committe chairman, Jürgen Stackmann, "The project SEAT al Sol is a clear example of the evolution of the factory, which has also just received the Lean Production Award for the quality and efficiency applied in its production processes.

"SEAT is a responsible company and the respect for the environment is one of our priorities. We have the largest solar plant on the automotive industry, a fact that proves that our commitment is real."

Moreover, the Volkswagen Group has pledged to increase sustainability at all of its car production plants by 25% by 2018.