Nissan plans 37,000-panel solar farm expansion to ‘nearly triple’ renewable energy at its Sunderland plant

Nissan is proposing to ‘nearly triple’ renewable energy generation at the Sunderland plant with a solar farm expansion.

Friday, 12th March 2021, 12:01 am

The car giant has today (Friday, March 12) announced plans for a major expansion of renewable energy generation at its Sunderland plant.

The proposed 20MW extension will see 22.5 hectares of solar panels added to the Washington site, the equivalent of around 16 football pitches.

The renewable energy plans will complement the plant’s existing wind turbines and solar farm, representing a further step in the company’s path to carbon neutrality.

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The solar farm will "nearly triple" the plant's renewable energy.

If approved, the 37,000-panel extension would result in 20% of the plant’s energy coming from onsite renewable sources – enough to build every zero-emission Nissan LEAF that is sold in Europe.

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It is understood that the plans are being shared with the local community this week, ahead of submitting a formal planning application.

Alan Johnson, Vice President Manufacturing at Nissan Sunderland, said: “Renewables have already made a big difference to our business and we continue to look for ways to make the manufacturing process more sustainable.

“As our products made in Sunderland become increasingly electrified, our manufacturing operations are an important part of the ecosystem that will take us to carbon neutrality.”

The company began integrating renewable energy sources in Sunderland in 2005 when the company installed its first ten wind turbines on site, which generate 6.6MW power.

That was expanded in 2016 with the existing 4.75MW solar farm.

The new proposed 20MW solar farm extension would increase output to 32MW at the plant.

The planned solar farm is being developed and installed by partner company Engenera.

As a company, Nissan has set itself the goal to achieve carbon neutrality across the its operations and the life cycle of its products by 2050.

The company said: “As part of this effort, by the early 2030s every all-new Nissan vehicle in key markets will be electrified, as well as introducing innovations in electrification and manufacturing technology.”

Nissan launched the LEAF model, the world’s first mass-market all-electric vehicle, more than ten years ago. Today it is driven by more than 180,000 motorists across Europe.

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