Renault Rolls Out Enormous Solar Plan to Lower Environmental Footprint

French automaker Renault is launching the biggest solar project ever in the automotive industry.

In collaboration with Gestamp Solar, the company plans to install 60 megawatts (MW) of rooftop solar systems at six facilities in France.

The installations will eventually cover 450,000 square meters, equal to about 60 football fields. Combined, the systems will generate enough electricity to power a town of 15,000 people.

The installations will eclipse by far a much smaller project announced two weeks ago by General Motors, which plans to put a 1.23 MW installation on the rooftop of a Baltimore, Maryland assembly plant.

The project is part of Renault’s strategic plan to reduce its carbon footprint 10% by 2013 and by a further 10% between 2013-2016.

Solar panels will cover the roofs of Renault’s delivery and shipping centers at the Douai, Maubeuge, Flins, Batilly and Sandouville sites, and the staff parking lots at Maubeuge and Cléon.

The start date for installation is mid-June 2011 and completion is scheduled for February 2012.

In other news, Renault is working closely with electric vehicle partner Nissan to develop electric vehicles. They are also providing vehicles for Better Place – a company building charging infrastructures in numerous locations around the world. Renault’s first electric vehicle, a five-seat sedan called the Fluence ZE, went on sale in Europe this year.

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