Nissan announces the construction of a huge solar farm in Sunderland, which will supply 20% of Sunderland’s electric power as part of its carbon neutral plans

  • At the North East factory, a 20-megawatt solar farm is being built.
  • This is on top of the nearby battery gigafactory.
  • The farm will be developed this month, and should be completed by May
  • The new solar farm will be augmented by 10 wind turbines. As the Japanese brand aims to decarbonize its UK manufacturing facility by 2050, it will also help the current solar farm. 

Nissan was granted permission to build a huge new solar farm of 20 megawatts at Sunderland’s car plant. This will provide all the energy required for its Leaf EV.

The development of the UK’s first solar farm, the Solar Farm 1, will start in December. It is expected to be completed in May 2022.

The Japanese automaker, which had previously committed to keeping the North East plant as its European hub after Brexit, confirmed earlier this year that it would build a huge gigafactory at the Sunderland location. This will allow it to produce batteries for the cars it makes next door.

Nissan's massive new Sunderland solar farm: New 20 megawatt facility will provide enough on-site renewable electricity to power production of every Nissan Leaf sold in Europe

Nissan Sunderland’s new solar farm is huge: The 20-megawatt facility from Nissan will generate enough electricity locally to power each Nissan Leaf sold in Europe

This solar farm will produce twice as much renewable electricity at the factory from existing wind turbines and smaller solar farms. It also has enough power to make every Nissan Leaf electric vehicle sold in Europe.

Confirming the news on Wednesday, Alan Johnson, vice president manufacturing at Nissan Sunderland, 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.’

Another nine farms are planned under Nissan’s £1billion EV36Zero plan with Envision AESC – the Japanese firm’s battery-making partner for the gigafactory project – and Sunderland City Council’s renewable energy Microgrid. 

This comes two months after Envision AESC was granted planning permission to construct its 9GWh battery manufacturing facility on the land next to the vehicle plant.

An estimated 909 jobs will be created in North East England by the battery factory, while an additional 4,500 will come from the UK’s supply chain. 

Plans for a 1MW storage facility using used Nissan EV batteries are also included in the project. This will allow excess energy to be stored during daylight hours and can then be used to offset grid demand. 

Nissan's Sunderland plant will be under heavy development in the coming months with the addition of the new solar farm and a massive 9GwH-capacity battery production factory

Nissan Sunderland will undergo significant development over the next months, with the construction of a new solar farm as well as a 9GwH battery manufacturing factory.

Nissan’s North East manufacturing hub will be further strengthened by the addition of a solar farm. 

Sunderland’s auto factory uses wind turbines at its site since 2005 to provide renewable energy for the plant. 

With the 4.75MW existing solar farm, which was installed in 2016, these 10 turbines produce 6.6MW of power.

Earlier this week, Nissan said it will continue to put Sunderland at the heart of a £13billion push into electric car production – in what has been seen as a major vote of confidence in Britain.

As part of plans to create 23 electric models globally by 2030, the Japanese automaker made this UK commitment. One of these would be a family-oriented SUV that is based on its Chill-Out Concept vehicle.

Nissan outlined its future plans earlier this week, which included the promise to develop 23 electric models worldwide by 2030 - some of them to be produced in the UK

Nissan announced its future plans this week. It included the promise that 23 electric cars will be developed worldwide by 2030. However, some models of these vehicles may still be manufactured in the UK.

One of those models is likely a compact family SUV based on the Chill-Out Concept Nissan revealed this week
Nissan said the 'Chill-Out' - which won't be the production version's name - will be a 'mobile haven' for motorists

A compact SUV-based family model is one of these models, as it was revealed this week. Nissan stated that the “Chill-Out” – although it won’t actually be the name of the production vehicle – would be a “mobile haven”.

The company projects half its global sales of electric cars by 2020. 

Nissan has ambitious plans for Europe to become greener, with 75% of its vehicles being electric by 2026. 

The company also promised to lower the cost of lithium-ion batteries by 65% before the end the decade, and that all solid-state battery technology will be available by March 2029.

These commitments, Makoto Uchida, Chief Executive, stated, will make EVs more affordable for drivers.

In October, Nissan and partner Envision AESC received planning permission to build a new 9GWh-capacity battery-producing gigafactory adjacent to the Sunderland car plant

Envision AESC, Nissan’s partner in the project received planning permission for a brand new battery-producing gigafactory with a capacity of 9GWh. It will be located next to Sunderland’s car plant.

Ashwani Gupta was the chief operating officer and stressed the significance of Sunderland for the larger plan.

He said that Europe will be leading the charge on global electrification for Nissan. Sunderland, Europe’s leading electrification city, will be the first.

Kwasi Kwarteng (Business Secretary) hailed the announcement for being a “stamp on approval” for the UK.

Tweeted he: “Delighted that Nissan have placed the Sunderland factory at the center of their global effort for acceleration the transition towards electric vehicles.” The UK has been approved.

Nissan claims it wants to achieve carbon neutrality throughout the product lifecycle by fiscal year 2050.

The Japanese car maker opened its Sunderland plant – where it makes the Qashqai, Juke and electric Leaf models – in 1986. 


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