Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK has partnered with British Gas for a 4.6MW installation in Derbyshire, England. Costing a total of £10 million, the ground-mounted system will feature 17,000 Sharp 245W monocrystalline panels covering an area of 90,000m2 at Toyota’s UK-based vehicle plant.

British Gas will install and pay for the system, meaning that it will benefit from the feed-in tariff payments. In return for the use of its space, Toyota will utilize the energy produced to manufacture Auris, Auris Hybrid and Avensis cars. The installation is expected to generate enough electricity to build 7,000 of these vehicles a year.

Tony Walker, Toyota Manufacturing UK deputy managing director said, “We are already making a significant contribution to the UK’s low carbon economy with production of Auris hybrid – the first European built full hybrid car.  Generating solar power on-site to supply electricity to the plant underlines our commitment to do even more to further reduce our carbon footprint and is yet another example of our environmental leadership. We are delighted to be working in partnership with British Gas to achieve this.” 

Jon Kimber, managing director of British Gas New Energy said, “With energy costs increasing and a tough financial climate, all businesses are looking at ways to cut their bills as well as reduce their carbon emissions.  Solar power has the potential to make this happen and really revolutionize the way Britain’s homes and businesses generate energy.  Toyota is a real beacon for green business throughout the UK.” 

The development is a key part of Toyota’s ‘Sustainable Plant’ vision in which manufacturing operations are designed to work in harmony with their local community and surrounding environment.

British Gas will now work to complete the plant before the August 1 feed-in tariff deadline, which has been set by the UK Government in the wake of a review of incentive rates. The FiT for systems larger than 50kW is expected to be cut by a proportional amount when the outcome of the review is revealed in the coming weeks. Toyota is aiming to have the system online by July.