Japanese car manufacturer Nissan is to learn the fate of its plan to develop a 4.8MW solar farm at its Wearside manufacturing facility in Sunderland next week.

The firm submitted a planning application in May to develop 8.7 hectares of land at the site into a solar farm comprising more than 19,000 panels which will help meet the plant’s substantial energy demand.

Nissan had previously intended to construct a solar farm almost twice as large as the current plans on land adjacent to the manufacturing facility, however these plans were rejected in January amidst fears the development would harm greenbelt land.

However the new plans place the solar farm within the boundaries of the facility and nearby its test track.

Renewables developer European Energy submitted the plans on behalf of Nissan and the planning officer’s report raised no objections to the site’s development, with a final decision expected after 20 July.

If the plans are successful, the solar farm will complement the site’s ten existing wind turbines which produce approximately 7% of its total energy demand.

Nissan has invested more than £3.5 billion into the facility which has been operational since 1986, including £420 million to convert its manufacturing processes to produce Nissan’s Leaf electric vehicles and associated batteries.