Renault Flips Switch on Auto Industry’s Largest PV System

Renault this week is inaugurating 400,000 square meters of photovoltaic panels in France, which, according to the company, makes the 59 MW solar energy system the world’s largest in the automotive industry.

The panels are located at six covered, ISO 14001-certified sites — Douai, Maubeuge, Flins, Batilly, Sandouville (pictured) and Cléon — in delivery and shipping centers and employee parking areas.

The entire surface area is covered with PV panels that can produce 52,600 MWh of electricity a year.

Renault says the PV installations will prevent 200 tons of CO2 emissions annually.

Renault developed the project with its partners Gestamp Solar and Coruscant (Cléon only), in their role as operational project managers.

In addition to the French production sites, Renault says it plans to roll out solar energy systems internationally. The company says it will set up about 100,000 square meters of PV panels at the Valladolid and Palencia plants through an agreement with Cenit Solar, and feasibility studies are underway in Slovenia, Morocco, Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Romania.

Renault is also developing additional solar projects at the Busan site in South Korea, with 300,000 square meters scheduled for finalization in December 2012, according to the company.

In September, Walmart announced its largest solar installation to date: a 3.3 MW system atop the Buckeye distribution center near Phoenix, Ariz., with more than 14,000 solar panels on a 1,000,000-square-foot building and parking canopies.

The company said the parking canopies will produce up to 30 percent of the center’s energy needs, and will generate up to 5.3 million kWh of energy per year.

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