Derby Toyota switches on 17,000 solar panels in project

Work on 17,000 solar panels at Toyota's Derbyshire manufacturing plant, which aim to cut bills and save energy, has been completed.

The panels cover about 90,000 sq m (968,752 sq ft) of land, equivalent to four-and-a-half football pitches.

The solar "array" was started up earlier and the company hopes it will generate enough electricity to build about 7,000 cars.

British Gas funded the £10m scheme as part of a joint project.

Rising costs

Tony Walker, deputy managing director of Toyota Manufacturing UK, said: "This lease for the land and British Gas solar panels is for 25 years, so it is a long-term investment.

"We wanted to improve our use of renewable sources of energy - wind power, solar power and biomass. Solar power was the most practical solution for us and it minimises disturbance for our neighbours.

"We hope to generate 4,600,000 kWh of electricity which is about 5% of our total electrical energy usage."

When plans for the solar project were announced, John Kimber, managing director of British Gas New Energy, said: "With energy costs increasing and a tough financial climate, all businesses are looking at ways to cut their bills as well as reduce their carbon emissions.

"Solar power has the potential to make this happen and really revolutionise the way Britain's homes and businesses generate energy."

Toyota's vehicle plant in Burnaston currently makes the Auris, Auris Hybrid and Avensis models.

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