Toyota unveils UK’s largest industry-connected solar array

Toyota’s Burnaston manufacturing plant near Derby, now boasts a 4.1MW ground-mounted solar array. The array, which is large enough to cover 12 football pitches, will provide enough electricity to power the construction of 7,000 hybrid vehicles a year.  

The project, financed and installed by British Gas, incorporates a whole host of photovoltaic solutions in addition the large ground mounted array. The Burnaston HQ is also home to two separate Building Integrated PV (BIPV) systems.

The first system is a 23kWp, wall-mounted Brise Soleil that utilises standard Sharp mono modules to create shade as well as electricity for the Japanese company’s admin office.

The second system is a custom designed Glass-Glass PV façade that British Gas engineers replaced existing glass units with bespoke Romag Glass-Glass PV modules.

The final piece of the solar jigsaw was completed in April with the installation of an 8kWp electric vehicle charging canopy. The canopy, located outside Toyota’s visitor centre will be able to help power Toyota’s green fleet of electric-powered tour trains.

Tony Walker, Deputy MD of Toyota Manufacturing UK said: “The installation is part of Toyota’s ‘Sustainable Plant’ vision in which manufacturing operations are designed to work in harmony with their local community and surrounding environment.

“The Burnaston Plant in Derby manufactures the Auris Hybrid car. The solar plant generates more than 3.7 million kWh per year of electricity, equivalent to the electricity used in the manufacture of 7,000 Auris Hybrids. All electricity generated is used by the factory with a potential saving of 2,000 tonnes of CO2 saved per year. 

“100 percent of packaging from the construction was recycled: with zero waste from the project’s construction going to landfill.  British Gas Solar and Toyota combined management practices to create an exemplar H&SE culture; there were zero Lost Time Incidents during the construction.  The project was financed through an innovative structure based on the FiT, with Toyota leasing land to British Gas in return for the renewable energy generated.”

The impressive solar solution on display at Burnaston demonstrates Toyota and British Gas’s commitment and belief in solar photovoltaic’s performance as a technology.