Texas’ largest commercial solar array tops Toyota headquarters

Texas is fast becoming a hotbed for solar development, and pv magazine has been at the forefront of calling it a dark horse to become one of the leading solar states within the next five years. With the deployment of a high-profile 9 MW system on the new $1 billion headquarters for Toyota Motor North America in Plano may inspire other company’s to follow its lead.

Toyota showed off the array, made up by more than 20,000 solar panels. at the official opening of the headquarters last week, which it says is part of Toyota’s longstanding commitment to sustainability throughout the world. What electricity can’t be generated by its solar array will be purchased from Texas’ wind farms, making the facility powered entirely by renewable forms of energy.

The opening of the the expansive campus is merely the first investment of a promised $10 billion in investments in its manufacturing, sales, marketing, engineering and administrative facilities throughout the country. It’s not known how much of that investment will be in solar power.

Powered by SunPower panels, the installation is the Lone Star State’s largest corporate office on-site solar installation among non-utility companies. The system is made up of four carport systems built on the top of the campus’ parking garages and is expected to to offset approximately 33% of the headquarters’ energy needs.

“We were proud to partner with Toyota on this innovative solar project as the company works to achieve its ambitious sustainability goals,” said Nam NguyenSunPower senior vice president. “The unique long-span carport design features SunPower’s solar panels that deliver 30%  more electricity than conventional solar.”

Toyota financed the project by power purchase agreement (PPA) arranged by SunPower, which allows Toyota to buy power at competitive rates with no upfront capital cost. Toyota will own the renewable energy credits associated with the system.