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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 mellomonk on 1/24/2013 5:34:34 PM , Rating: 1
The panels are already fairly reasonable. The panels have fairly long lives, 20+ years. At which point their output will have dropped off significantly, but they will still be producing. They can generate a hell of a lot of power in that time frame. If sighted and sized correctly, and depending on your electric rates, you should easily break-even. They will drop in time, especially with newer photovoltaic tech coming online, but to think that you need them to cost a quarter of what they do today is unrealistic. It isn't just the cost of the panels you need to think about, it is the cost of the power they will produce.

But realistically it is not even about the bottom line. It is about the quality of the power and when it is produced. Carbon neutral and delivered at the peak-rate utility times. Great for the environment, great for the utility company, great for you. You have to factor in the costs that are more then dollars and cents.

The subsidies paid to consumers are far more transparent then the various incentives that are given to utilities, mining interests and the alike that currently profit from our power needs. It is a fair and proven tactic that is done everyday for business interests and has historical precedent. From rural electrification, the interstate highway system, the OK land rush, to today's tax incentives that are given to move a company or manufacturer to a given community. We are trying to support and encourage a fledgling industry here that brings benefits beyond the bottom line to our society and our nation. The free market doesn't always have these benefits in mind. It will take an investment in the future to steer our massive society down a different path. Nobody is ramming anything down your throat, you don't have to take advantage. But it is a direction that more and more of our society are beginning to take and insist our nation take. Be it to preserve our environment, insure our energy independence, or give our industries a head start to the future, we choose a different path.


RE: THIS is whats needed
By Spuke on 1/24/2013 10:15:04 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
But realistically it is not even about the bottom line.
That's pretty much what it's all about for me. I can't afford unicorns.


RE: THIS is whats needed
By JediJeb on 1/25/2013 5:27:23 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
But realistically it is not even about the bottom line. It is about the quality of the power and when it is produced. Carbon neutral and delivered at the peak-rate utility times. Great for the environment, great for the utility company, great for you. You have to factor in the costs that are more then dollars and cents.


Here in Ky you can only bet on sunny weather during late July into mid August, the rest of the year you can get clouded over for a week at a time. Winter is especially bad, so I don't think I could ever repay the investment at current prices/efficiency. I like the idea, but the tech just isn't there yet and I am not independently wealthy to be able to afford to purchase them simply as a matter of ideals.


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