This new Chattanooga Solar Park is part of VW Group’s ‘Think Blue Factory’ program and is a bid to enhance sustainability of the company’s manufacturing operations.
As part of its global IT strategy, Volkswagen is striving to generate more power from renewable energy sources. Besides concentrating on enhancing manufacturing operations, the company is also keen on ensuring that their data centers become more sustainable. Volkswagen’s Chattanooga facility has about 33,600 crystal solar modules which have been installed across its 13 hectares. These modules generate about 13,100 megawatt hours of electricity per year and will contribute to 12.5% of all electricity needed to run the plant at full capacity.
To assist the company in this venture, Volkswagen has collaborated with Phoenix Solar of Germany and Silicon Ranch based in Nashville.
Frank Fischer, CEO and Chairman of Volkswagen Group of America, Chattanooga Operations LLC, said, “We are proud to power up the biggest solar park of any car manufacturer in North America today. The solar park,” he said, “is another proof point of Volkswagen’s worldwide commitment to environmental protection under its ‘Think Blue. Factory’ philosophy, a broadly focused initiative for all Volkswagen plants to achieve more efficient use of energy, materials and water and produce less waste and emissions.” Mr. Fischer added, “Powering up the solar park also validates the awarding of the LEED Platinum certificate to Volkswagen Chattanooga, which is still the only car factory in the world that has earned such an honor.”
Matthew Kisber, Silicon Ranch President and CEO, said, “We’re proud to partner with VW on this important project. Today’s ‘Power Up’ launch not only greatly enhances the energy efficiency of VW’s Chattanooga plant and reaffirms its place as a true global environmental leader, but it also symbolizes the beginning of a new era in manufacturing operations throughout the region and worldwide. The scope of this solar park and the breadth of how much of the sun’s energy will be harnessed here will most certainly have a powerful and lasting positive impact on both our environment and our economy.”
Dr. Murray Cameron, Chief Operating Officer of Phoenix Solar AG and President of U.S.-based Phoenix Solar Inc., said, “Phoenix Solar Inc. is extremely proud to have designed and built the largest solar electric photovoltaic (PV) plant in Tennessee for such a prominent global company. This project adds to our extensive list of large-scale solar installations across Europe, the Middle East and North America which are supplying cost-effective and clean electricity to a vast variety of commercial companies and utilities.” Dr. Cameron added, “What is particularly unique and exciting about this solar power plant is that Volkswagen has coupled clean electricity with energy efficiency measures in the factory to showcase how industry can make an immediate and positive contribution to protecting the environment.”