Solar farm helps drive MINI Plant
More than 11,500 panels are helping to harness renewable energy to power Oxford’s MINI Plant.
At more than 20,000 square metres, the plant’s new bodyshop now boasts one of the largest, roof-mounted solar farms to be installed in the UK.
The photovoltaic system is fully commissioned and has a generating capacity over 3 MW comprising over 11,500 solar panels and covers an area equivalent to five football pitches. The installation will generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 850 households.
Frank Bachmann, managing director of MINI Plant Oxford, said: “We are delighted that our new solar farm is now up and running and already producing green energy for Plant Oxford.
“It is fitting that the first of these panels have gone onto our new bodyshop as the building has been designed with environmental performance at its heart.”
The plant’s bodyshop, which contains 1,000 robots, was opened at the end of last year to build the new MINI hatchback.
The building already has an impressive list of environmental credentials including 3,869 individually programmable LED lights, a special energy-saving “rest mode” for the robots, a water harvesting system to supply the toilets and so-called heat wheels in the building’s roof control the recirculation and admission of fresh air to reduce the amount of heating and cooling required.
The launch of the solar farm also coincides with Oxford’s first ever ‘Low Carbon Oxford Week’. Plant Oxford was one of the first signatories of the Low Carbon Oxford Charter, which kick started a programme of activities aimed at reducing the city’s carbon footprint by 30 percent by 2020.
Dr Barbara Hammond, Chair of Low Carbon Oxford and Chief Executive of the Low Carbon Hub, said: “I am pleased that MINI Plant Oxford has undertaken such a large solar project here in Oxford. We hope to see other businesses, big and small, install solar PV projects, such as those we are developing with local businesses at the Low Carbon Hub.”
Notes to editors
The PV system at MINI Plant Oxford is financed, owned, installed and maintained by Free Green Energy Corporation Limited (FGEC) and the green electricity generated will be supplied to MINI Plant Oxford under a 20 year Power Purchase Agreement. The solar PV electricity will enable BMW Group UK to reduce its carbon footprint by approximately 1,500 tonnes of CO2 per year.