Solar expansion drives Nissan toward carbon neutrality

Nissan’s move toward carbon neutrality will receive a boost if plans for a 20MW solar farm extension are approved at the company’s Sunderland plant. 

carbon neutrality
Nissan plans to expand its renewable energy resource in Sunderland (Image: Nissan)

The 37,000-panel extension would result in a fifth of the plant’s energy coming from existing onsite renewables that already include wind turbines and a solar farm. According to Nissan, this would be enough to build every Nissan LEAF sold in Europe.

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In a statement, Alan Johnson, vice president manufacturing at Nissan Sunderland, said: “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.”

Nissan began integrating renewable energy sources in Sunderland in 2005 when the company installed its first wind turbines on site. These 10 turbines contribute 6.6MW, 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.

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 intends 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 in key markets will be electrified. The company said it would also introduce innovative electrification and manufacturing technology in this period.

Nissan launched LEAF, the world’s first mass-market all-electric vehicle, over a decade ago and it is now driven by more than 180,000 motorists across Europe.