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VW's grand opening of its Tennessee solar park  (Source: knoxnews.com)
It will produce 13.1 gigawatt hours of electricity per year

Volkswagen officially launched its solar installation in Tennessee yesterday, which is the largest solar park in the state.

The "Volkswagen Chattanooga Solar Park," which is located next to its manufacturing plant in the city, is 33 acres large and has 33,600 solar modules. The modules, provided by JA Solar, are capable of producing 13.1 gigawatt hours of electricity per year -- or 1,200 homes annually in the city.

“We are proud to power up the biggest solar park of any car manufacturer in North America today," said Frank Fischer, CEO and Chairman of Volkswagen Group of America. "The solar park is another proof point of Volkswagen’s worldwide commitment to environmental protection under its ‘Think Blue. Factory’ philosophy, a broadly focused initiative for all Volkswagen plants to achieve more efficient use of energy, materials and water and produce less waste and emissions.

"Powering up the solar park also validates the awarding of the LEED Platinum certificate to Volkswagen Chattanooga, which is still the only car factory in the world that has earned such an honor.”

The new solar installation expects to meet 12.5 percent of the Volkswagen manufacturing plant's energy needs during full production and 100 percent of its energy needs during non-production times.

Volkswagen added that it would consume 100 percent of its energy from the solar installation instead of selling it to utilities.

While Volkswagen's new solar facility is the largest, it is by no means the only solar project launched by an automaker in the U.S. Back in 2011, General Motors (GM) launched a solar charging canopy in Michigan called the Tracking Solar Tree. It moves with the sun and helps to charge GM's EVs.

According to GM, the Tracking Solar Tree is able to increase renewable energy production by about 25 percent due to its movable parts. In addition, the tree will produce up to 30,000-kilowatt hours per year and generate enough solar energy to charge six EVs daily.

Source: Volkswagen



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RE: THIS is whats needed
By Solandri on 1/24/2013 4:36:12 PM , Rating: 2
It's impressive in scale, but not in production.

13.1 gigawatt-hours / 1 year = 1.5 megawatts average.

33 acres = 133,546 square meters

1.5 megawatts /133546 m^2 = 11.2 Watts/m^2

Figure they're using commercial 125 Watt/m^2 panels, and that's a 0.09 capacity factor. Capacity factor for solar in that region of the country should be around 0.15. So maybe almost half of that 33 acres is just wasted space? I dunno.
quote:
Rather than the feds trying to ram expensive clean energy down our throats at every turn, private companies like this should be and are the ones taking the initiative.

From the article, it sounds like they did this for LEED certification. LEED certification can get you all sorts of government tax breaks and credits - it depends on where you are. Dunno if that's the case here, but I wouldn't be so quick to assume this was entirely a private endeavor.


RE: THIS is whats needed
By ShieTar on 1/25/2013 4:14:15 AM , Rating: 2
Sure there is empty space, you need to be able to walk between the panels to get maintenance access. Of course the given numbers may also include storage and conversion efficiencies instead of being the pure power output of the panels.

Regarding tax breaks and credits - sure they are an incentive. But VW is already operating other, if smaller, solar stations at other plants, like the 280kW installation in Emden, German. Regenerative power is definitly a consideration at VW, of course it is still traded against cost. They do like to keep making twice the profit of GM with two thirds of the revenue.


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