Volkswagen Opens Largest Solar Installation in Tennessee
January 24, 2013 3:19 PM
VW's grand opening of its Tennessee solar park
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
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.
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