Wednesday, January 23rd, VW started-up its new solar park from the Tennessee assembly plant.
The installation covers an area of 33 acres, is located next to the Chattanooga plant and can produce more than 13 gigawatt hours of electricity annually, the equivalent of the energy consumed by 1,200 area homes.
“We are proud to power up the biggest solar park of any car manufacturer in North America today,” said Frank Fischer, chairman and CEO of VW’s Chattanooga operations.
The new solar park will power the plant’s operations during off-peak periods and will account for 12.5% of the facility’s electricity needs during full production. In 2011 the Chattanooga plant became the first to receive the Platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification offered by the US Green Building Council.
To receive the LEED certification several factors must be taken into consideration, such as sustainable sites, materials and resources, innovation in operations, energy and atmosphere and indoor environmental quality. Silicon Ranch is the company which owns and operates the solar park, allowing VW to buy electricity under a 20-year deal.
“Who could have dreamed a generation ago that the day would come when a major auto manufacturing facility right here in Tennessee would rely on the sun to help power up their production lines,” said former state Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matt Kisber.