Nissan is to nearly triple the renewable energy generation at its Sunderland manufacturing plant with a proposed 20MW solar farm.
This new 37,000-panel extension would go in alongside the existing wind turbines and solar farm, resulting in 20% of the plant’s energy coming from onsite renewables. The new solar is being developed and installed by partner company Engenera, with the first step in the process being a community consultation, which starts this week. A full planning application is expected to follow later this year.
Nissan first began integrating renewables in Sunderland in 2005 with the installation of its first wind turbines, which contribute 6.6MW of power. The existing 4.75MW solar farm, meanwhile, was installed in 2016.
Alan Johnson, vice president of Manufacturing at Nissan Sunderland, said that as its products made in Sunderland become increasingly electrified – with the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle being manufacturer there – Nissan's operations are “an important part of the ecosystem that will take us to carbon neutrality”.
“Renewables have already made a big difference to our business and we continue to look for ways to make the manufacturing process more sustainable.”
The company is currently targeting carbon neutrality across its operations and the life cycle of its products by 2050. In 2018, it launched a home solar-plus-storage product that offered panels provided by Hanwha Q Cells and LG and Nissan's own xStorage battery storage system, which it developed alongside Eaton.