Nissan to build 20-megawatt solar farm in northeast England

Japanese carmaker Nissan has received planning permission to build a 20-megawatt solar farm at its plant in northeast England that should generate enough power to build every fully electric Leaf car sold in Europe.

Nissan said construction will begin immediately and be completed by May 2022.

The new solar farm will double the amount of renewable electricity generated at Nissan’s Sunderland plant to 20% of its needs.

In July, Nissan said it would spend 1 billion pounds ($1.33 billion) with its Chinese partner Envision AESC to build a battery plant that will power 100,000 vehicles a year, including a new crossover model.

Earlier this week, Nissan said it will spend 2 trillion yen ($17.64 billion) over five years to accelerate vehicle electrification to catch up with competitors in one of the fastest growth areas for car makers.

The move is the latest significant development as automotive manufacturers seek to continue along the path to green technologies.

Last month, for example, Japanese motor manufacturer Toyota Motor said it will partner with four other Japanese vehicle makers to explore the viability of alternative green fuels for internal combustion engine cars, including hydrogen and synthetic fuels derived from biomass.

The companies, which in addition to Toyota include Mazda Motor, Subaru, Yamaha Motor and Kawasaki Heavy Industries, made the announcement at a race track in Okayama, western Japan, where Toyota is racing a hydrogen car.

Converting internal combustion engines to green fuels such as hydrogen is technologically difficult, but doing so would allow the companies to support decades-old existing supply chains employing hundreds of thousands of workers that they may otherwise have to drop as they switch to building electric vehicles.

As nations tighten environmental regulations to cut carbon emissions, car manufacturers including Toyota, are increasing production of electric vehicles. Japan has said it aims to be carbon neutral by 2050 and is promoting the use of hydrogen fuel.

Toyota plans for 15 electric vehicle models by 2025 and is investing $13.5 billion over the next decade to expand battery production capacity.

At the same, time however, it is continuing to develop vehicles powered by hydrogen.

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