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SunPower solar system on Toyota headquarters

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Toyota’s New US Headquarters Is Getting A SunPower Solar System

SunPower and Toyota have been partners in renewable energy since 2003, SunPower is now constructing a solar power system for Toyota’s new US headquarters in Plano, Texas.

Toyota is building a new US headquarters in Plano, Texas. When it is ready for occupancy later this year, the facility will be powered in part by an 8.79 megawatt SunPower solar system. Right now, some 50 certified workers are busy installing high efficiency SunPower solar panels on steel carport structures that enclose four parking garages. The panels are rated at 20% efficiency.

SunPower solar system on Toyota headquartersOnce the project is completed, more than 20,000 solar panels will cover an area equal to 10 football fields, offering shade and protection to vehicles underneath. The SunPower solar system is expected to generate enough clean energy to offset about a third of the energy needs of Toyota’s new headquarters. The SunPower solar system will be one megawatt larger than originally planned and will be the largest corporate office solar system in the Lone Star State for companies that are not in the utility business.

“We are excited to see this solar power project start to really take shape on our new headquarters campus,” said Kevin Butt, regional director, North American Environmental Division, Toyota. “As a long-standing solar advisor, SunPower is helping us realize Toyota’s 2050 global environmental challenge to eliminate carbon emissions in all operations.”

Toyota is integrating a range of energy efficient technologies and sustainable materials into the design of its state of the art corporate campus. It has every expectation that its new headquarters will qualify for LEED Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. Since SunPower’s E-Series solar panels selected for this project are Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Silver. SunPower is the only solar panel manufacturer in the world to achieve this certification, which reflects the quality or a product based on rankings in five categories — material health, material reutilization, renewable energy use, water stewardship, and social fairness.

“We’re proud to partner with Toyota on this innovative solar project as the company works to achieve its ambitious sustainability goals,” said Nam Nguyen, SunPower senior vice president. “The unique long span carport design will feature SunPower’s high reliability solar panels that deliver 30 percent more electricity than conventional solar, optimizing Toyota’s renewable energy investment.”

SunPower and Toyota have been renewable energy partners for nearly 15 years. Toyota’s South Campus headquarters building in Torrance, California, was one of the largest privately funded systems of its kind when it opened in 2003. Also built by SunPower, the system covers 53,000 square feet of rooftop.

In 2008, SunPower installed a 2.3-megawatt system at the Toyota North American parts center in Ontario, California. It produces more than 3.7 million kilowatt hours per year and provides up to 58% of the electricity needed at the facility. At the time of completion, it was the second largest single-rooftop solar array in North America. In 2009, SunPower installed a 1.5 megawatt solar power system at Toyota’s facility in West Caldwell, New Jersey.

Toyota is financing the SunPower solar system installed at its Plano, Texas, location through a power purchase agreement (PPA) arranged by SunPower, which allows Toyota to buy power at competitive rates — acting as a hedge against future utility rate increases — with no upfront capital cost. Toyota will own the renewable energy credits associated with the system.

SunPower has offices and operations in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America. Total, the fourth largest publicly traded energy company in the world, purchased a majority interest in SunPower in 2011.

Source: SunPower press release. Photo credit: Axium Solar via SunPower

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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. 3000 years ago, Socrates said, "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." Perhaps it's time we heed his advice.


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