Nissan to install on-site solar farm at Sunderland plant

Nissan has unveiled plans to build a new solar farm at its Sunderland Plant - the facility at the heart of its Leaf electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing process.

Pictured: An artist's impression of the proposed solar farm. Image: Nissan Motor Corporation Great Britain 

Pictured: An artist's impression of the proposed solar farm. Image: Nissan Motor Corporation Great Britain 

The automaker confirmed this week that it will apply for planning permission for a 20MW solar farm at the plant, which is the UK’s largest single car manufacturing facility, following a community consultation.

The plant is already co-located with a 6.6MW onshore wind farm with ten turbines and a 4.75MW solar farm, if the new solar farm is approved, it will be able to meet 20% of its electricity needs with self-generated renewables.

Nissan has chosen Engenera to develop and install the new solar PV. If the consultation process goes as planned, the carmaker will submit a full planning application by the end of 2021.

“Renewables have already made a big difference to our business and we continue to look for ways to make the manufacturing process more sustainable,” Nissan Sunderland’s vice president for manufacturing, Alan Johnson, said.

“As our products made in Sunderland become increasingly electrified, our manufacturing operations are an important part of the ecosystem that will take us to carbon neutrality.”

Climate and EV commitments

Nissan is notably striving to achieve carbon neutrality across its direct operations and across the product life-cycle by 2050.

As with most carmakers, emissions from vehicle use currently account for a significant proportion of its annual carbon footprint. The business is, therefore, planning to electrify all new models sold in its biggest markets by 2030.

The UK – one of the brand’s biggest markets – is banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030. Nissan has already confirmed plans to expand EV battery manufacturing at the Sunderland plant to help align with this requirement.

Nissan is not the only carmaker to have announced or updated electrification plans in light of policy changes in the UK and other nations. February saw Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) pledging to sell only EVs through its Jaguar brand by 2025 and Ford outlining plans to shift to EV-only sales in Europe from 2030.

With this in mind, edie recently published a feature summarising the EV commitments of the world’s largest carmakers. You can read that article in full here.

Sarah George



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