More than 11,500 panels are helping to harness renewable energy to power the MINI factory at Cowley. At more than 20,000 square metres, the plant’s new bodyshop now boasts one of the largest, roof-mounted solar farms to be installed in the UK.
The photovoltaic system is fully commissioned and has a generating capacity over 3 MW comprising over 11,500 solar panels and covers an area equivalent to five football pitches. The installation will generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 850 households.
Frank Bachmann, Managing Director of the factory, said: ‘We are delighted that our new solar farm is now up and running and already producing green energy for Plant Oxford. It is fitting that the first of these panels have gone onto our new bodyshop as the building has been designed with environmental performance at its heart.’
The building already has a long list of environmental credentials including 3869 individually programmable LED lights, a special energy-saving ‘rest mode’ for the robots, a water harvesting system to supply the toilets and so-called heat wheels in the building’s roof which control the recirculation and admission of fresh air to reduce the amount of heating and cooling required.
The launch of the solar farm also coincides with Oxford’s first ever ‘Low Carbon Oxford Week’. Plant Oxford was one of the first signatories of the Low Carbon Oxford Charter, which kick started a programme of activities aimed at reducing the city’s carbon footprint by 30 percent by 2020.