Work to start on massive solar energy farm for Sunderland's Nissan plant

Work is set to start on a massive new solar energy farm for Sunderland’s Nissan plant.

By Kevin Clark
Friday, 17th December 2021, 9:59 am

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North-East renewable energy company Engenera Renewables Group is preparing to start work on the biggest project in its history after Nissan secured the green light to install an additional 20MW solar farm at its UK plant.

The development is the next milestone for the plant’s EV36Zero project and the company’s journey to carbon neutrality.

The new 20MW installation, for which planning permission has now been granted by Sunderland City Council, will double the amount of renewable electricity generated at Nissan’s Sunderland plant to 20% of the plant’s needs - enough to build every 100% electric Nissan LEAF sold in Europe. Nissan’s goal is to be carbon neutral across the life cycle of its products by fiscal year 2050.

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The development and installation of the solar farm, which will comprise almost 40,000 solar panels, will begin immediately, and installation alongside the plant’s existing wind and solar farms is expected to be complete by May 2022.

This is the first of a potential ten additional solar farms planned under Nissan EV36Zero, announced in July with an initial £1bn investment from Nissan and its partners in future electric vehicle manufacturing, a new Envision AESC gigafactory and Sunderland City Council’s renewable energy Microgrid.

Nissan began integrating renewable energy sources in Sunderland in 2005 when the company installed its first wind turbines on site. These 10 turbines contribute 6.6MW power, with the existing 4.75MW solar farm installed in 2016.

An artist's impression of how the new solar farm will look

Bryan Glendinning, chief executive officer, Engenera, said: “Securing planning permission for this site is a landmark moment for both Engenera and Nissan. This represents the biggest installation new will have worked on to date, and also gives Nissan a big boost towards achieving its goals of becoming completely carbon neutral across the life cycle of its products by fiscal year 2050.

“We are proud to partner with Nissan, and we are also working with many other businesses on their journey towards being carbon neutral, aided by our £100 million fund, which means there is often no upfront cost to the client.”

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