Toyota switches on 3.8 MW solar array at UK engine plant

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Japanese car manufacturer Toyota has added to its growing portfolio of solar PV in the U.K. this week after switching on its latest commercial array – a 3.8 MW installation embedded at its engine manufacturing plant in Deeside, North Wales.

The commercial installation was commissioned as a multi-million pound project with national utility British Gas, which previously worked with Toyota on a 4.1 MW installation at one of the company’s plants in Burnaston, England in 2011.

This latest array was installed over the past three months, using 13,000 Tata Power solar panels covering an area the size of eight football pitches and able to generate as much as 3,475,000 kWh of electricity per year – enough to produce 22,500 car engines.

The PV installation will cut the Toyota plant’s carbon emissions by 1,800 tonnes a year and is part of the car giant’s strategy to reduce the environmental impact of its operations worldwide.

"This significant investment we have made in the new solar array marks a major advance for Deeside and Toyota Manufacturing U.K. in our mission to minimize the environmental impact of our operations, cutting carbon emissions and powering our production in a way that is cleaner and more environmentally efficient," said the plant’s director Jim Crosbie.

Toyota has built a reputation over the past few years for developing lower carbon vehicles, most notably with the global success of its flagship hybrid car, the Toyota Prius.

In the U.K., the government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has repeatedly stressed its desire to help nurture the country’s commercial and rooftop solar sector. Such thirst for solar energy was in evidence at the plant’s grand switch on yesterday, which was performed by Welsh Minister for Economy, Science and Transport, Edwina Hart.

"This impressive development certainly ticks all the boxes – it is a major investment in renewable energy that will significantly cut C02 emissions, helping to support Welsh government targets while providing green energy for sustainable manufacturing," Hart said.