Toyota’s engine production factory in Deeside, North Wales is using energy generated from its own solar array.

The Japanese manufacturer had 12,860 Tata Solar modules installed on the site, which are predicted to generate around 10% of the factory’s annual demand. The solar installation was carried out by British Gas who estimates that the array will generate around 3,475,000kWh a year – enough energy for the factory to manufacture up to 22,500 engines.

The solar installation was officially ‘switched on’ today by Edwina Hart, Welsh Minister for economy science and transport. Commenting on the project, Hart said: “This impressive development certainly ticks all the boxes – it is a major investment in renewable energy that will significantly cut CO2 emissions helping to support Welsh government targets while providing green energy for sustainable manufacturing.”

Jim Crosbie, Toyota’s Deeside plant director, explained that the company’s investment in solar PV reflected Toyota’s drive to cutting emissions not only for its vehicles, but also in its manufacturing.

Crosbie continued: “The solar array won’t just reduce our carbon footprint – it will demonstrate to the wider Welsh and UK manufacturing sector the tangible benefits renewable energy can deliver.”

Gab Barbaro, managing director of British Gas Business Services said that the company was proud to have completed its first large-scale solar installation in Wales. He added that the project demonstrates to other companies that solar in the UK is a viable energy solution for intensive manufacturers.  

The move follows Toyota’s previous solar installation at its Derbyshie factory in 2011. The new solar array at Toyota Deeside is expected to negate the emission of 1,800 tonnes of CO2 for each year that it operates.

The project will serve as an important lighthouse project for the UK government, which is pushing for increased deployment of commercial-scale solar. However with deployment in the sector remaining extremely small, the solar industry is calling on the government to do more to unblock current barriers to deployment.