Sun’s rising in the East Midlands
“Toyota is harnessing the power of the sun to build new cars,” declares the Sun’s Ken Gibson,
who visited Burnaston to switch on the 17,000 solar panels recently unveiled at the Derbyshire
“The panels will generate 4.6 million kilowatt hours of energy a year to help build 7,000 cars,”
he enthuses. “It is another major breakthrough by an industry that has cleaned up its act as
Toyota leads the way with its hybrid cars.
“It is turning the Derbyshire factory into a green haven with the UK’s biggest installation of
solar power. Burnaston will be Britain’s greenest car plant and make one of the cleanest cars in
“The big switch-on was perfect timing as Toyota has just been named the greenest brand in
the world by international brand consultancy, Interbrand.
“The solar power panels will save emissions
from the factory annually and that energy will
be re-used to help build 7,000 cars a year.
“The panels – enough to cover four and a
half football pitches and brew 150 million
cups of tea – cost £11.4 million.”
They were installed for free by British Gas,
which adds to Gibson’s ringing endorsement
of the move. “Toyota is a real beacon for green business throughout the UK,” says Jon Kimber,
Managing Director of British Gas New Energy.
Gibson continues: “When the sun’s rays fall on the solar panels, the light energy is converted
into electricity that is used to run the plant.
“Burnaston is already one of five Toyota centres worldwide that are designated Sustainable
Plants because of their first-rate environmental credentials. It builds the super-green Auris
Hybrid hatchback that emits just 89g/km of CO2 and is capable of more than 70mpg. Every day
200 hybrids roll off the production lines.”
Tony Walker, Deputy Managing Director of Toyota Manufacturing UK, said: “Generating solar
power to supply electricity to the plant underlines our commitment to do even more to reduce
our carbon footprint.”
And there’s still more for Gibson to wax lyrical about. “Burnaston has been pioneering green
innovations since 2000 when it installed its first solar panels. It sends no waste to landfill, has
cut its production of NOx gas and recycles the water it uses.
“There is even a nature park and lake that are registered as a site of biological importance.
The solar array shows that manufacturing eco-friendly road cars is now just the tip of measures
being taken up by car firms to ‘green up’ their whole operation.”
(Source: The Sun, 29 July)