Toyota Unveils Huge Rooftop Solar Power System

Toyota headquarters - SunPower solar panels

Rooftop solar plant while under construction | Image: Toyota Motor North America

Tens of thousands of solar panels are in place on Toyota’s new North American headquarters in Plano, Texas.

At the official grand opening of its new headquarters last week, Chief Executive Officer of Toyota Motor North America, Jim Lentz, said it was the state’s largest solar project among non-utility companies in the state.

The 8.79-megawatt system, consisting of 20,000 SunPower solar panels, wound up being nearly a megawatt larger than originally planned and is expected to generate up to 33 per cent of the facility’s electricity requirements, while avoiding 7,198 tonnes of carbon emissions a year.

The modules have been installed on top of four parking garages at the site, so they’ll provide an added bonus of shade and protection to vehicles parked beneath.

The clean power station is being financed through a power purchase agreement (PPA) arranged by SunPower, enabling Toyota to lock in competitive electricity rates and buffer against energy price increases.

SunPower has executed a number of solar power projects for the company over an association spanning over 14 years, including a 1.5-megawatt system at a Toyota facility in West Caldwell, New Jersey and  a 2.3 megawatt installation at a parts center in California.

Another way Toyota is making use of extensive rooftop space at the facility is through rainwater harvesting. Giant cisterns are placed in the parking structures that can collect more than 1.5 million litres of water, which will be used for landscaping purposes.

Toyota is pursuing LEED Platinum Certification for the facility and last year also committed to 100% renewables at the site. What isn’t provided by the rooftop solar installation will be sourced from various renewable resources including wind farms and offsite solar facilities in Texas.

In Australia, Toyota also dabbled in solar energy. In 2014, a 500kW solar panel system was commissioned on the rooftop of its powertrain factory at Toyota’s Altona North manufacturing plant near Melbourne, a facility that unfortunately will close later this year.

On a global scale, Toyota has set itself a “plant zero CO2 challenge” to be achieved by 2050.  It says it will slash carbon emissions associated with its manufacturing activities by adopting renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power, and by utilizing hydrogen energy.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. Wonderful!
    you did great job. I really like your ” Plant Zero CO2 Challenge”. It will inspire to others fight with the global warming problem. Keep doing good work like this.

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