Becoming the first car manufacturer in the country to install a large-scale solar system, Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK has today announced a £10 million project, which it is executing in partnership with British Gas. Since receiving approval from the local planning authority, the company is now ploughing ahead with the 4.6MW system in order to beat the August 1 feed-in tariff deadline.

Work has already begun on the 90,000m2 ground-mounted array, which is located at Toyota’s vehicle plant in Derbyshire. In total approximately 17,000 high-efficiency UK manufactured Sharp 245W monocrystalline panelswill be installed on site. By utilising the power on location, around 2,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions will be saved each year.  

British Gas will install and pay for the system, meaning that it will benefit from the feed-in tariff payments. In return for the use of its space, Toyota will utilise the energy produced to manufacture Auris, Auris Hybrid and Avensis cars. The installation is expected to generate enough electricity to build 7,000 of these vehicles a year.

Tony Walker, Toyota Manufacturing UK Deputy Managing Director said, “We are already making a significant contribution to the UK’s low carbon economy with production of Auris hybrid – the first European built full hybrid car.  Generating solar power on-site to supply electricity to the plant underlines our commitment to do even more to further reduce our carbon footprint and is yet another example of our environmental leadership. We are delighted to be working in partnership with British Gas to achieve this.” 

Jon Kimber, Managing Director of British Gas New Energy said,“With energy costs increasing and a tough financial climate, all businesses are looking at ways to cut their bills as well as reduce their carbon emissions.  Solar power has the potential to make this happen and really revolutionise the way Britain’s homes and businesses generate energy.  Toyota is a real beacon for green business throughout the UK.” 

The development is a key part of Toyota’s ‘Sustainable Plant’ vision in which manufacturing operations are designed to work in harmony with their local community and surrounding environment. Work on the project has already begun for completion in July.