Toyota fits 17,000 solar panels to British factory

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Japanese carmaker Toyota said Tuesday it was installing 17,000 solar panels at one of its factories in Britain to cut its carbon dioxide production by 2,000 tonnes a year.

The solar panels at the Burnaston plant in Derbyshire, central England, will cover an area of 90,000 square metres (970,000 square feet), equivalent to more than four football pitches, Toyota said.

Installed at a cost of around 10 million pounds ($16.5 million, 11 million euros) in a joint project with energy company British Gas, they are expected to begin producing electricity next month.

The panels will generate enough power to produce 7,000 cars a year, which a Toyota spokeswoman told AFP was the equivalent of five percent of the plant's annual output.

Toyota will be able to use the electricity for free, while in return British Gas will receive government funds for developing renewable energy.

The Burnaston plant, which opened in 1993, was Toyota's first in Europe. It produces the Auris Hybrid, Auris and Avensis cars.

Toyota says the solar panel project is the biggest of its kind in any car factory in Britain. The carmaker has introduced similar measures in other countries to increase its use of sustainable energy.

© 2011 AFP

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