Volkswagen started getting power from the Volkswagen Chattanooga Solar Park yesterday, the biggest solar system installed by an automaker in the US.
The Passat sedan will now be made using solar in the greenest auto manufacturing plant in the world, the only one to earn LEED-Platinum.
It is also Tennessee's biggest solar system.
33,600 solar panels made by China's JA Solar occupy 33 acres, enough to supply 12.5% of the electricity during full production and and 100% at off-peak times.
3000 people work at the manufacturing facility, which covers 1.9 million square feet.
Silicon Ranch owns the 9.5 megawatt (MW) solar park and sells the electricity to Volkswagen under a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).
"The solar park 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," says Frank Fischer, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America.
Volkswagen is in the midst of its commitment to invest nearly EUR 1 billion in renewable energy for its plants worldwide.
The company's new Jetta hybrid took seventh place in the latest Green Car ranking.
General Motors has also made a major commitment to renewable energy, pledging to install 125 MW globally by 2020. Its venture capital arm, General Motors Ventures, has an equity stake in commercial solar developer Sunlogics, which develops and operates systems in the US, Canada, and Europe.