Forget simply lowering vehicle emissions: what about assisting with the production of renewable energy? That is what Volkswagen has done by creating a huge solar park (pictured) at its US plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
It is the largest solar facility operated by an automaker in the USA – the new Volkswagen Solar Park will have peak output of 9.5megawatts.
The plant, which is used to produce the Volkswagen Passat, is expected to have an annual output of around 13,100megawatt hours per year thanks to the installation of 33,600 crystal solar modules. This will be used directly during the vehicles’ production: with the hope that solar power can provide around 12.5 per cent of the electricity needed during full capacity production.
According to Frank Fischer, the CEO and chairman of Volkswagen Chattanooga, the facility is a significant breakthrough in Volkswagen’s worldwide strategy to generate more power from renewable energy.
“We are proud to inaugurate today the largest solar park of an automaker in USA,” he said. “This facility is a key part of our ‘Think Blue Factory’ programme and further proof of Volkswagen’s worldwide commitment to environmental protection. Once again, we are setting standards in efficient, sustainable production.”
The plant has a workforce in excess of 3,000: they produce a version of the Volkswagen Passat that is exclusive to the North American market.
Volkswagen has already won several awards for its environmental commitment and in December 2011 it became the first automaker to receive the LEED Platinum certification. It operates an environmental management system that meets ISO 14001 standards; and an energy management system meeting ISO 50001.
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