Automobile manufacturer, SEAT, part of the Volkswagen group, has completed an 11MW PV project on the roof of its factory in Martorell, Spain.
The 'SEAT al Sol' installation is claimed to be the largest solar power plant in the automotive industry to date, with 53,000 solar panels installed across 276,000 square metres of workshop and storage facility roofs.
SEAT al Sol began in 2010, jointly developed with utility-scale solar developer, Gestamp Solar, costing an estimated €35 million.
The 11MW installation is expected to generate 15 million kWh a year, or 25% of the annual energy capacity required to manufacture the new SEAT Leon, the company said.
Spanish interior minister, Jorge Fernández Díaz, and SEAT executive committee chairman, Jürgen Stackmann chaired the opening ceremony of the plant, also attended by SEAT's vice president for production, Andreas Tostmann and vice president of governmental and institutional relations for SEAT and the Volkswagen Group in Spain, Ramón Paredes.
Stackmann said the project was “a clear example of the evolution of [SEAT’s] factory”.
Volkswagen is increasingly using solar on its other premises worldwide, In January, Pheonix Solar completed the 9.58MW Chattanooga Solar Power plant at its manufacturing facility in the state of Tennessee.
The US Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA)’s list of commercial PV customers, ‘Solar means business report’, revealed automobile manufacturers are increasingly some of the largest PV installers in the US. Volkswagon was the top car manufacturer with 9.6MW while Toyota also appears with 4.4MW. General Motors was the sole entry on last year’s SEIA list with 5.6MW, increased to 6.7MW for 2013.
Gestamp Solar also installed a 1.1MW solar power plant in Italy for Lamborghini automobiles in 2011.
French automaker Renault has a 55MW solar installation at its manufacturing plant in France, also constructed by Gestamp.
Volkswagon has an overall target of increasing its factories’ sustainability level to 25%, by 2018.