In January, Volkswagen “powered up” the largest single solar installation at an automotive manufacturing facility in the United States and the biggest solar installation in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The solar installation at Volkswagen Chattanooga validates the U.S Green Building Council decision to award the highly-coveted LEED Platinum certification to Volkswagen in late 2011. At that time, the Building Council called the Chattanooga manufacturing facility “the world’s greenest auto plant” and noted it was the first automotive manufacturing plant in the world to receive the top Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. Today, the Chattanooga plant remains the only auto plant worldwide to earn the LEED Platinum certification.
Volkswagen’s installation is the largest single solar installation at an automotive manufacturing facility in the United States and the biggest solar installation in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Credit: Volkswagen.
The electricity produced from the solar park is expected to meet 12.5% of the energy needs of Volkswagen’s Chattanooga manufacturing plant during full production and 100% during non-production periods. The plant covers 1.9 million square feet and employs more than 3,000 people who work together to manufacture the highly-acclaimed Volkswagen Passat sedan. For Volkswagen, the solar park in Chattanooga will rank as the automaker’s largest photovoltaic installation worldwide.
“We are proud to power up the biggest solar park of any car manufacturer in North America today. The solar park,” said Frank Fischer, CEO and chairman of Volkswagen Group of America, Chattanooga Operations LLC , “is another proof point of Volkswagen’s worldwide commitment to environmental protection under its ‘Think Blue. Factory’ philosophy, a broadly focused initiative for all Volkswagen plants to achieve more efficient use of energy, materials and water and produce less waste and emissions.” Mr. Fischer added, “Powering up the solar park also validates the awarding of the LEED Platinum certificate to Volkswagen Chattanooga, which is still the only car factory in the world that has earned such an honor.”
Honda Transmission Manufacturing of America has announced an agreement with Juhl Wind, Inc. of Pipestone, Minnesota, to develop, install, and operate two utility scale wind turbines to generate electricity for the plant’s operations.
Once the turbines begin operating later this year, the Honda transmission plant in Russells Point, Ohio will be the first major automotive manufacturing facility in the United States to obtain a substantial amount of its electricity directly from wind turbines located on its property, while also reducing CO2 emissions.
The Honda transmission plant in Russells Point, Ohio will be the first major automotive manufacturing facility in the United States to obtain a substantial amount of its electricity directly from wind turbines located on its property. Credit: Honda Transmission
Studies commissioned by Honda Transmission indicate that wind-generated power is a cost-effective source of electricity for the plant and that the project will not adversely impact local wildlife or the environment. The two wind turbines will supply approximately 10 percent of the plant’s electricity. Based on their location and actual wind speeds, combined output from the two wind turbines is estimated at 10,000-megawatt hours (MWH) per year.
The decision to go forward with the project followed a thorough evaluation of renewable energy sources for the plant, which Honda announced in February 2012. The turbines, with blades approximately 160 feet long, will be installed on 260-foot towers on Honda Transmission property, which is suited for a maximum of two wind turbines. Last June, the Washington Township Board of Zoning Appeals approved a variance to the height limitation for the wind turbines.
“We appreciate the support we have received from the township and our neighbors that will help Honda reduce CO2 emissions,” said Gary Hand, vice president of Honda Transmission. “This is just one of many ways that Honda is seeking to reduce our environmental footprint.”
Juhl Wind will be the primary developer of the project and own the two turbines. Through agreements with Honda Transmission, Juhl will generate electricity for the plant, and be responsible for the interconnect agreement with the Logan County Electric Cooperative and the power purchase agreement with Buckeye Power, Inc.
“We are honored to work with Honda to provide wind energy at their Russells Point facility,” said Corey Juhl, vice president of project development for Juhl Wind. “By installing these two wind turbines next to their manufacturing facility, Honda is making tangible and immediate progress towards reducing CO2 emissions.”