Massive rooftop solar arrays seem to be popping up at an accelerating rate, thanks in part to cheaper, more efficient solar panel technologies and financial incentives in the form of rebates and stabilized energy costs. Renault’s solar energy system at its French production facilities will dwarf most of the competition when it goes online next year.
Spread among six different facilities located in Douai, Maubeuge, Flins, Batilly, Sandouville, and Cléon, the Renault project will be the largest ever developed in the automotive industry. The total square footage will be equivalent to 63 football fields, producing a whopping 60 megawatts of power – enough to provide annual electricity to a town of 15,000.
Renault has committed to reducing its overall carbon footprint by 20% over the next five years, and expects this project alone to help slash its carbon emissions by 30,000 tons annually. The rooftop arrays, developed in partnership with Gestamp Solar, will cover delivery and shipping centers as well as staff parking facilities. Construction is scheduled to begin shortly, in June 2011, and should be completed by February 2012.
For the sake of comparison, General Motors’ 10MW solar installation at its plant in Zaragoza, Spain was groundbreaking in the industry when it was announced just a couple years ago in 2008. It seems green roofs aren’t the only environmentally friendly use for all that space above – so stay tuned for the next large-scale solar project on the horizon…