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UK’s biggest ‘solar canopy’ underway in Crewe

Luxury carmaker Bentley Motors has begun work to cover 1,300 car park spaces at its UK factory headquarters with enough solar panels to power a quarter of its needs.

Luxury carmaker Bentley Motors has begun work to cover 1,300 car park spaces at its UK factory headquarters with enough solar panels to power a quarter of its needs.

The 10,000-panel system will create a 2.7MW ‘solar canopy’ over the car park. This is in addition to the 5.1MW, 20,000-panel rooftop system already in operation at the factory in Crewe.

The site, which employs 4,000 staff, is already an exemplar in sustainable manufacturing. It was the first UK automotive plant to achieve ISO 14001 environmental management, ISO 50001 energy management, and the Carbon Trust Standard for carbon, water and waste.

Exemplar factory

As well as the significant generation of renewable energy generation on-site, the factory has cut water usage per vehicle by nearly half since 2010 through circulating systems that reuse water from manufacturing processes.

The site also follows zero-to-landfill waste practices and has a specially-designed logistics centre to reduce road deliveries.

Company-wide commitment

Peter Bosch, board member for manufacturing, said: “This solar installation is another example of how we can make our factory more sustainable by using technological innovation. 

“We continue to focus on new initiatives that reinforce our commitment to the environment, whether this is introducing alternative powertrain technologies in future models, or our award-winning work to reduce the environmental impact of our factory.

The new solar panels will generate enough power to meet around 24 per cent of the factory’s needs and reduce carbon emissions by 3,300 tonnes per year. 

They are being installed over six months by FlexiSolar, a specialist in solar canopies.