The new 20MW installation, for which planning permission has now been granted, will double the amount of renewable electricity generated at Nissan’s Sunderland plant. This will supply 20 percent of the plant’s needs which is enough to build every Nissan LEAF electric vehicle (EV) sold in Europe.
Work will begin on the development immediately, and installation alongside the plant’s existing wind and solar farms is expected to be complete by May 2022.
Alan Johnson, Nissan Sunderland vice president of manufacturing, said: “We have been using renewable sources on-site for more than 15 years. The expansion of our solar farm is an integral part of the Nissan EV36Zero project and the company’s journey to carbon neutrality.”
This is the first of a potential 10 additional solar farms planned under Nissan EV36Zero, announced in July. The EV36Zero project, which features an initial £1 billion investment from Nissan and its partners, is for future electric vehicle manufacturing, a new Envision AESC gigafactory and Sunderland City Council’s renewable energy Microgrid.
This week Nissan announced Ambition 2030, the company’s long-term plan to empower mobility and beyond, which included the Chill-Out Concept – previewing the new-generation electric crossover slated for future production in Sunderland.
In October, battery partner Envision AESC received planning permission for its new 9GWh-capacity gigafactory, to be built on land adjacent to the vehicle plant.
The project also includes plans for a 1MW battery storage system using second-life Nissan electric vehicle batteries. This will also allow for excess energy generated during daylight hours to be captured and used at different times, helping to balance demand on the grid.
The solar farm is being developed and installed by partner company Engenera. 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 power, with the existing 4.75MW solar farm installed in 2016.
Under Ambition 2030, Nissan aims to become a truly sustainable company, driving towards a cleaner, safer, and more inclusive world. The vision supports Nissan’s goal to be carbon neutral across the life cycle of its products by 2050.