Plans in for new solar farm at Sunderland's Nissan plant as car manufacturer aims to run on 100% green energy
Plans have officially been lodged for a new solar farm at the Sunderland base of Nissan.
Sunderland City Council’s planning department has received an application for land at the automobile manufacturer’s Washington complex.
This included the proposed installation and operation of a 20MW solar farm, together with all associated works, equipment and necessary infrastructure.
The application has been submitted by Engenera Renewables Group to operate the development for a 40-year period, after which the solar farm will be decommissioned and the site restored to its existing condition.
According to a supporting statement from the applicant, the development has been brought forward in “direct response to the objectives of government renewable energy law” and Sunderland City Council’s green energy ambitions.
This includes the local authority “developing Sunderland as a leading UK city for low-carbon technology and production based around Nissan and in the surrounding area west of the A19.”
The development, which is referred to as the Hylton Plantation Solar Farm, will contain more than 37,000 panels and aims to “contribute to Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK’s aim of being supplied by 100% green energy”.
A planning statement from the applicant goes on to say: “The Solar PV installation would result in a reduction in carbon emissions associated with energy generation equating to approximately 4,587 tonnes of CO2e annually, equivalent to removing approximately 2,500 standard cars from the road each year.
“The proposed solar PV installation of 20 MW is the equivalent to the energy needs of approximately 6,247 homes within the UK and the power generated is the equivalent of powering 14,935 EV cars per year.”
Nissan began integrating renewable energy sources in Sunderland in 2005 when the company installed its first ten wind turbines on site and then expanded in 2016 with the existing 4.75MW solar farm.
The new solar farm aims to complement the plant’s existing facilities, representing a further step in the company’s path to carbon neutrality.
If approved, the extension would result in around 20% of the plant’s energy coming from onsite renewable sources.
Planning documents for the proposed solar farm also confirm that mitigation of environmental impacts has been considered.
The planning statement adds: “This has resulted in the proposed development being reduced in size to provide adequate space and protection for key habitats including ponds and the Hylton Plantation.”