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Renault's plan to cover the roof's of its auto plants in France  (Source:
Placing solar panels on plant roofs in six French cities will reduce carbon emissions by 30,000 tonnes annually

Many big names in the auto industry are cleaning up their act by introducing hybrid and electric vehicles which produce fewer carbon emissions. But building cleaner vehicles isn't the only green effort the industry can contribute. Renault announced today that it would partner with Gestamp Solar to build the largest solar energy project in the automotive business. 

Renault is a French automaker that has an alliance with Nissan, which makes it the third largest automaker in the world. It produces cars and vans, and has made tractors, trucks and buses in the past. 

This solar panel project is part of the Renault 2016 - Drive The Change plan, which aims to reduce carbon emissions by 10 percent by 2013 and an additional 10 percent between 2013 and 2016. To do this, Renault is partnering with Gestamp Solar, which is a multinational corporation specializing in renewable energy, steel and automotive assembly. The idea is to install solar panels at manufacturing plants throughout France. 

Together, Renault and Gestamp Solar will use solar panels to cover a total area of 450,000 m², which is equivalent to 63 football fields. The Renault factories receiving solar panels are those in Douai, Flins, Maubeuge, Batilly, Sandouville and Cléon. The areas covered by solar panels will be staff parking lots at Maubeuge and Cléon, and roofs of delivery and shipping centers at Douai, Maubeuge, Flins, Batilly and Sandouville.

The solar project will have an installed power capacity of 60 megawatts, which could power a town with a population of 15,000 annually. By switching to these solar panels, CO2 emissions will be cut by 30,000 tonnes per year. 

"Renault has implemented several actions to reduce consumption at its plants (e.g. the zero carbon plant in Tangiers)," said Renault's press release. "With the solar roof project, Renault is showing its concern to conserve resources by diversifying the energy mix used to generate electricity, and particularly by using renewable energy sources."

Renault and Gestamp Solar will begin the installation process in mid June and expect to complete the project by February 2012.

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RE: Sweet
By Paj on 6/2/2011 9:23:58 AM , Rating: 1
Yeah, except for the bit where their factory makes free power.

RE: Sweet
By mdogs444 on 6/2/2011 10:43:25 AM , Rating: 2
There is nothing "free" about prepaying for power for 20 years until you break even. That's like buying a chevy volt and saying you are going to get 8 years of free gasoline buy spending an extra $15,000 premium for the car over a standard gasoline engine Cruze.

RE: Sweet
By Dr of crap on 6/2/2011 12:48:01 PM , Rating: 2
Great comback,
and I REALLY like the dig at the Volt!!

I'll have to remember that one!

RE: Sweet
By kslavik on 6/2/2011 11:06:06 AM , Rating: 2
Alternatively, they could put money in the bank and collect interest, or just pay off the debt, which would give them higher return on investment. In addition it would not save the planet by reducing CO2 emission due to the fact that energy required to produce, transport, install and maintain those solar panels will require about the same amount of energy as the amount produced by those solar panels during their lifetime of about 30 years. France as far as I know produces about 80% of it electricity from its nuclear plans, which in turn produce no CO2 emissions.

RE: Sweet
By kattanna on 6/2/2011 2:25:57 PM , Rating: 2
France as far as I know produces about 80% of it electricity from its nuclear plans, which in turn produce no CO2 emissions.

correct. which makes their talk about all that CO2 reduction humorous.

one thing i didnt see was any mention of public subsidies for the panels. interesting. If true, very nice!

RE: Sweet
By Paj on 6/3/2011 7:30:47 AM , Rating: 2
Absolute rubbish. This study summary ( shows that energy output of PV cells is 9-17 times the input, depending on where the panels are made, transportation distance to site, and type of cell.

France does produce the majority of its energy through nuclear, and does have an advanced reprocessing industry. However, many plants have to close periodically as intense demands made on local water resources have significant environmental consequences. Germany (Europe's largest economy, a world leader in solar) has recently announced that it will close all its nuclear plants within the next decade or two.

Theres good reasons why nuclear does not generate the majority of the world's power, and that is that it has too many drawbacks.

Thorium reactors, on the other hand? Untapped potential.

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