Toyota isn’t just making the world’s most popular hybrid cars, it’s making more commitments to reduce its impact on climate change. Its latest effort is making its new, North American headquarters in Plano, Texas, a LEED Platinum campus with 8.8 megawatts (MWs) of SunPower solar panels on the campus’ parking structures.
Once completed, the project is expected to provide 33 percent of the campus’ annual energy needs while keeping electric costs low through a long-term power-purchase agreement with SunPower. It was initially slated to be a 7.8 MW solar array, but now the two-phase solar project will be nearly 1 megawatt larger than originally planned. When completed, it’s expected to be the largest behind the meter solar power facility in Texas, SunPower stated.
"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 of 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 aims to achieve LEED Platinum status through not just the solar power being installed on its parking structures, but also include energy efficiency measures and sustainable materials to construct its campus. The more than 20,000 SunPower E-Series solar panels being installed on the campus have also achieved Cradle To Cradle Certified Silver, which means they’re recycled at the the end of their useful life into new solar products in a socially and environmentally sustainable manner. Between the solar and other measures undertaken at the site, the campus is expected to save 7,122 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually over a similarly sized, conventionally built campus.
"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.”
The new solar arrays build on a 14-year partnership with Toyota and SunPower. For instance, it installed a 1.5 MW array at Toyota's facility in West Caldwell, N.J. in 2009. It also installed a 2.3 MW solar array at the Toyota North American parts center in Ontario, CA in 2008.
Toyota’s franchises have also installed solar in the US. Toyota of Covalis, OR, partnered with Gensler last October (2016) to build one of the car industry’s first solar-powered fully sustainable dealerships. The dealership has integrated efficiency measures like water harvesting for landscape irrigation and geothermal heating and cooling in order to achieve the coveted LEED Platinum certification. The solar panels at the $17 million facility is projected to produce 300,000-kilowatt hours of electricity annually.Tweet