Nissan has unveiled a bold plan to increase the use of renewable energy at its UK production facility in Sunderland.
The factory, which builds the Juke and Qashqai SUVs alongside the Leaf EV, already uses on-site renewable energy generation methods, but plans to significantly extend the site's dedicated solar farm with 37,000 new panels would mean 20% of the plant's energy would come from renewable sources.
The resulting energy increase would raise the farm's energy capacity by 20MW (2000kW) and bring the plant's total renewable output to 32MW. That's enough, claims Nissan, to build every Leaf sold in Europe.
The 10 wind turbines that have been at Sunderland since 2005 produce around 6.6MW, while the solar farm in its current guise, as established in 2016, produces 4.75MW.
The farm will be developed and installed by Nissan's partner firm Engenera. With the plans drawn up, local communities will now be given the opportunity to have their say before planning permission is sought later this year.
The expansion at Sunderland forms part of Nissan's overarching objective to achieve "carbon neutrality across the company’s operations and the life cycle of its products" by 2050. By the early 2030s, the brand says, all of its key-market models will be electrified.