Automobile manufacturer, BMW’s Oxford Mini plant has upped its renewable power intake, with a 3MW solar rooftop installation.

The plant has 11,500 panels installed across 20,000 square metres and will generate enough power equivalent to the energy use of 850 UK households.

Solar PV installation firm Evo Energy was appointed to install the project, with construction taking just 4 months, from February to the end of May.

Michael Salisbury, projects director for Evo Energy, said the biggest challenge was working out how to install 3MW of panels without overloading the roof, 24,000 aerodynamic solion frames provided the ballast-free solution required.

“The finished array is a prime example of a company making good use of a space that was previously unused, for the benefit of their business and the environment” said Salisbury.

The plant has been fully commissioned to power the body shop plant for BMW’s new Mini hatchback cars, and is one of the largest roof mounted solar farms in the UK.

The Mini hatchback manufacturing plant contains 1,000 robots, and was opened at the end of last year.

The building also uses LED lights, water harvesting and other environmental features to lower the plant’s carbon footprint. The launch of the solar farm also coincided with Oxford’s first ever ‘Low Carbon Oxford Week’.

The BMW plant was one of the first signatories of the Low Carbon Oxford Charter, which aims to reduce the city’s carbon footprint 30% by 2020.