Nissan installs solar farm to power UK car production

Nissan has switched on a new solar farm at its plant in Sunderland, the largest manufacturing site in Europe for the Nissan LEAF and its batteries.
Nissan installs solar farm to power UK car production

The solar farm consists of 19,000 solar PV panels and has been installed alongside 10 wind turbines already in operation. The opening of the solar farm marks the latest stage in the company’s ‘Intelligent Mobility’ programme which aims to achieve twin goals of zero emissions and zero fatalities.

The company began to integrate renewable energy sources into its Sunderland plant in 2005 when it installed its first wind turbines on site. The 10 turbines contribute 6.6 MW of power, with the 4.75 MW solar farm bringing the total renewable energy output to 11.35 MW. This represents 7 percent of the plant’s total electricity requirements, enough to build the equivalent of 31,374 vehicles.

“Renewable energy is fundamental to Nissan’s vision for Intelligent Mobility” said Colin Lawther, Nissan’s Senior Vice President for Manufacturing, Purchasing and Supply Chain Management in Europe. “We have built over 50,000 Nissan LEAFs in Europe, and the industry-leading new 250km-range LEAF is now available. With 10 wind turbines already generating energy for our Sunderland plant, this new solar farm will further reduce the environmental impact of Nissan vehicles during their entire lifecycle.”

The solar farm has been developed and installed within the loop of the vehicle test track at Sunderland by partner company European Energy Photovoltaics. Its installation comes as Nissan celebrates its 30th anniversary of manufacturing in the UK with Sunderland now the biggest UK car plant of all time, supporting nearly 40,000 jobs in Britain across vehicle design, engineering, production, parts distribution, sales and marketing, dealer network and supply chain.

The Intelligent Mobility programme is designed to guide Nissan’s product and technology pipeline, anchoring critical company decisions around how cars are powered, how cars are driven, and how cars integrate into society. Breakthrough initiatives recently announced as part of the programme include a future generation of electric vehicle batteries, a major vehicle-to-grid trial in the UK in partnership with Enel and a revolutionary new residential energy storage system called xStorage.

The vehicle-to-grid trial will see Nissan EVs supplying the UK National Grid with an efficient and flexible source of energy. A trial of 100 vehicle-to-grid units will commence in the UK later this year, enabling Nissan EV owners to give energy from their vehicle battery packs back to the UK grid, providing a cost-effective, sustainable and reliable source of power while helping consumers save and make money.

The xStorage system, developed alongside power management company Eaton, will not only give Nissan EV batteries a ‘second life’ but will also provide customers with a fully integrated energy storage solution that will put energy management and distribution back in the hands of the consumer.

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