Toyota achieves UK car industry first with large-scale solar panel array

  • Solar array at Toyota's Derbyshire manufacturing facility to produce 4,600,000 kWh per year (enough energy to produce 7,000 cars a year)
  • Joint project between Toyota Motor Manufacturing United Kingdom and British Gas
  • Saving up to 2,000 tonnes of CO2 per year
  • Project further strengthens TMUK's established environmental leadership

Toyota Motor Manufacturing United Kingdom (TMUK) is set to be the first car manufacturer in the United Kingdom to install a large-scale solar panel array after the scheme gained approval from local planning authorities. Work has started on installing the ground-mounted system at Toyota's manufacturing facility in Derbyshire, where the Auris full hybrid, Auris and Avensis models are built for the European market.

The solar array is located on 90,000 m2 of industrial land within the plant and consists of around 17,000 panels — enough to cover almost four and a half football pitches — all of which will be manufactured in the UK. Generating electricity for use on site, the project will help reduce the plant's carbon footprint, support energy security and cut its power bills. The scheme will save up to 2,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year and the saving in energy will be equivalent to 4,600,000 kWh. When fully operational it will be capable of supplying enough energy to build approximately 7,000 cars a year

The solar panels will cost more than £ 10 million (&euro 11.2 million) and will be installed and paid for by British Gas. Installation work has started and the array is expected to begin supplying power to the plant in July.

The development is a key part of Toyota's "Sustainable Plant" vision in which manufacturing facilities are designed to work in harmony with their local community and surrounding environment. TMUK and Toyota Motor Manufacturing France are two of just five Toyota plants worldwide to be designated a Sustainable Plant with first-rate environmental credentials

Tony Walker, TMUK Deputy Managing Director, said: "We are already making a significant contribution to the UK's low carbon economy with production of Auris full 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."

Toyota has a recognised history of environmental leadership. It was the first UK car manufacturer to be awarded the international ISO 14001 standard for environmental management in 1996, and the first to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill to zero in 2002. In 2008 it went further achieving zero waste to incineration.

TMUK environmental achievements to date:

1996 — First UK automotive plant to be awarded ISO 14001 (Environmental Management System)

2000 — Solar panels installed on administration building

2002 — Zero waste to landfill achieved

2003 — Boiler improvements to achieve NOx reduction

2004 — Waste water recycling using reverse osmosis

2004 — Boiler CO2 reduced by steam pressure reduction

2005 — CO2 reduction through thermal efficiency improvement

2007 — Wet lake registered as site of biological importance

2008 — Zero waste to incineration

2008 — Increased use of natural lighting in buildings

2009 — Material recycling facility opened

2009 — Combined heat and power generator installed

2010 — Start of Auris full hybrid production

Theoretical capacity of the solar panel array is 4.1 MW (peak).