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Nissan proposes 20MW solar farm extension at its Sunderland factory

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Nissan wants to power more of its Sunderland factory with renewable energy, with the company looking to extend its solar farm by 20MW. 

A 20MW extension to the solar farm at Nissan’s Sunderland factory will complement existing renewables at the site, which includes a mix of both wind turbines and solar panels. However, the company will need to gain approval from the local council before going ahead with the construction. 

If approved, the 37,000 panel extension would result in 20% of the factory’s energy coming from all on-site renewables, helping lower the plant’s carbon footprint. Nissan notes that the renewables generated on-site after the extension would be enough to build every single zero-emission Nissan Leaf sold in Europe. 

Nissan has yet to submit a full application to the council, with it needing to get community feedback first. The company has had no issue with the installation of previous renewable generation, however. 

The site began producing renewable energy in 2005 when the company installed its first wind turbines on site. These 10 turbines contribute 6.6MW power, with the existing 4.75MW solar farm installed in 2016. The proposed 20MW solar farm extension would take the total output of renewables to 32MW at the plant.

Alan Johnson, vice president of manufacturing at Nissan Sunderland, commented, “Renewables have already made a big difference to our business and we continue to look for ways to make the manufacturing process more sustainable.

“As our products made in Sunderland become increasingly electrified, our manufacturing operations are an important part of the ecosystem that will take us to carbon neutrality.”

The solar farm is being developed and installed by partner company Engenera. The first step in the process is a community consultation which starts this week, with a full planning application expected to follow later this year.

Nissan has set itself the goal to achieve carbon neutrality across the company’s operations and the life cycle of its products by 2050. As part of this effort, by the early 2030s every all-new Nissan vehicle offering in key markets will be electrified, as well as introducing innovations in electrification and manufacturing technology.

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