Sun shines on Seat?s solar power initiative

The Barcelona-based car maker has confirmed that work to install more than 20,000 solar panels to form giant photovoltaic electricity generating plants is now complete. The panels are capable of producing around six million kWh of clean solar electricity annually.

Covering a huge total surface area of 135,000 square metres (33 acres), installed on workshop roofs and vehicle holding areas, the panels enable the SEAT plant at Martorell to make a major contribution to the environment through a reduction in CO2 emissions of around 2,800 tonnes per year.

That’s equivalent to the CO2 emissions of more than 2,300 Ibiza E Ecomotives and, with SEAT UK’s Ibiza E Ecomotive sales numbering just under 1,600 last year, it means the solar power scheme easily offsets the CO2 emissions of every one of those cars – effectively making each SEAT Ibiza Ecomotive sold here last year fully carbon neutral.

The ‘SEAT al Sol’ project has been developed jointly with Gestamp Solar with a view to even larger-scale generation of clean electricity for on-site consumption at the modern Martorell car plant. The solar facilities in the vehicle holding areas have an added benefit, too, by both generating renewable energy and protecting new SEATs from the vagaries of the weather.

The first phase of SEAT al Sol represents an investment of around 17 million euros. Throughout 2011 and 2012 new phases will create what will become the European car industry’s largest roof-installed photovoltaic power plant.

The ambition is to create a solar power facility covering 32 hectares (more than 79 acres) at Martorell with the capacity to generate more than 13 million kWh per year of clean electricity.

That would be enough to power almost 3,000 average UK homes for a year or, if you prefer, more than enough to power one very special UK home – Buckingham Palace – for the same period.

Of course SEAT’s burgeoning range of E Ecomotive and Ecomotive models continues to lead the way in terms of emissions reduction and fuel efficiency, while even the sporty Spanish brand’s most potent model to date – the 150 mph Leon Cupra R – emits just 190 g/km of CO2.

Commenting on SEAT’s solar power success UK Managing Director Peter Wyhinny said: ‘The ongoing efforts to reduce the environmental impact of everything we do at SEAT are clearly having a big impact.

‘The success of the ambitious SEAT al Sol project, along with our actions to reduce the CO2 emissions and improved the economy of all of our cars, firmly positions SEAT as a leader in this vitally important area.’