The sun should be smiling on the new Honda facility in Sakura, Japan, where the automaker is installing a "mega solar system" that can produce 10 MW a year on a new test course. The track will cover 25 hectares (about 62 acres) and be used to test "advanced safety technologies," but we're more impressed by the 70,000 solar panels on a 33 hectares (82 acres) lot. Honda doesn't have plans for that much electricity in Sakura, and so hopes to start selling that green energy in 2015. We'll give Honda credit for using the word "biotope" in the press release (available below), describing the biological community it plans to build on the property.

Honda's 82-acre solar farm will be bigger than Hyundai's 50-acre field in Korea and Volkswagen's 33-acres of solar panels near Chattanooga, TN. Other automakers, like Renault and BMW, have also installed solar energy generators in various places. Over in Saitama, Japan, Honda uses solar energy to create hydrogen for H2 cars like the FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle.
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Honda to Build New Test Course and Mega Solar System in Sakura, Japan

TOKYO, Japan, August 8, 2013 - Honda Motor Co., Ltd. announced plans to build a new test course and mega solar system on its property in the city of Sakura in Tochigi prefecture, Japan.

In 2007 Honda initially announced its plan to build a large-scale test course featuring a high-speed circuit with a 4 km long track, but postponed the plan due to the global economic recession that began in 2008. Reflecting recent changes in the business environment surrounding the automobile industry and in the market needs, Honda modified the purpose and scale of the plan and decided to build the new test course (approximately 25 ha in size) which will be utilized for the development of advanced safety technologies.

In addition, Honda will build a solar power generation system with an annual capacity of 10 MW within the same property in Sakura. After installing approximately 70,000 solar panels on an approximately 33 ha lot, Honda is planning to begin sales of the generated electricity in 2015. Moreover, as a part of its effort to conserve the natural environment, Honda is also planning to build a biotope within the property and will welcome members of the local community to enjoy it.

While continuing proactive development of safety technologies, Honda positions global environmental issues, especially climate change and energy issues, as a top priority and contributes to the reduction of its environmental footprint by promoting widespread use of renewable energy.


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  • 24 Comments
      Aaronm_mt
      • 4 Months Ago
      LOL, so Renault has to combine the panels from Six different factories to surpass this ONE from Honda. Got it chanonissantroll.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 4 Months Ago
      I'm not sure why you think anything regarding Nissan is even slightly relevant to this article.
      mustang_sallad
      • 4 Months Ago
      How is the general public ever gonna learn the difference between a Watt and a Watt-hour if the green technology websites (let alone their editors) can't even get it right? I'm guessing you meant 10 MW, because 10 MWh/year would be about 27kWh/day, or a little over 1kW on average, which would be a tiny solar array. The Watt vs Watt-hour mistake is a bad one to make as it takes some math to figure out what the author likely meant to say.
        ElectricAvenue
        • 4 Months Ago
        @mustang_sallad
        You can blame the original press release: "with an annual capacity of 10 MW", I have no idea what that means. Neither do any of the "media" outlets who just repeat this nonsense verbatim. (Do a web search, you'll find three different stories that just report this phrase verbatim). It's very depressing. My best guess is that they are installing 70,000 140W panels, because 70,000 * 140W = 9.8 MW. So it's a peak capacity 10 MW (rounding up) array. That doesn't tell us how much energy it will generate in a year, you'd have to know the specifics of the siting of the panels, the latitude and the climate to estimate that. I have no idea why the press release author threw in the words "annual capacity".
        DaveMart
        • 4 Months Ago
        @mustang_sallad
        Green editors always, always quote nominal output as though it were happening all the time. In my view they do this quite deliberately, to inflate the often small real output of solar, and hide the often huge cost. We can take a pretty good guess of the actual output of the 10MW array. Very generously, you might get 18% capacity - that is what you get for a flat panel array in Arizona, so it is more than generous regardless of how they angle the panels in Japan So actual output might be around 1.8MW on average. Probably they will get nearer the US average of 16%, so 1.6MW.
      Hans
      • 4 Months Ago
      How can 70'000 panels only produce 10 MW(h?) per year? A quick calculation from my side: 240 Wp per panel => 17 MWp of power => 17 GWh/a of energy in a place like Japan.
      chanonissan
      • 4 Months Ago
      why mention nissan and relevant? AB was comparing hyundai, bm, renault, etc who have or have larger acres of solar, It is based on that guideline outline in the article, I compare Nissan and honda who rivals more than all the cars companies mention above, it is based on that I compare honda to nissan renewable energy factories. The article clearly outline the different sizes of some factory, which I am still not wrong, honda is late, because hyundai have a large solar PV, VW and BMW and Renault all have bigger PV before Honda. There was nothing wrong with my comments, because they are behind their rival nissan, and I praise honda for their effort, but you went and blow this out of proportion.
      chanonissan
      • 4 Months Ago
      if letstakeawalk and all my downvoter have been reading the greeen article on autoblog they woulwould have known renualt have a 53 megwatt solar and nissan has made 100 acres of solar power in 2012. I am sure honda is 82 acres. http://green.autoblog.com/2012/11/07/renault-installs-massive-photovoltaic-panels-enough-to-offset-1/ now if only Renault could get all 15,000 of those people to buy those electric vehicles. The French automaker has set up what it says is the world's largest solar-panel system within the automotive industry by building about 100 acres worth of photovoltaic panels at six of its French factories. Renault says the panels at its Douai, Maubeuge, Flins, Batilly, Sandouville and Cléon will supply almost 53,000 megawatt hours of electricity annually, or about enough to power a town with the population of 15,000. Moreover, Renault says the panels will reduce emissions of electric vehicle production by 200 metric tons, or about 441,000 pounds, of CO2. That's about what 1,500 gas-powered vehicles put out a year. Renault, which is said to have invested more than $5 billion in electric-drive technology with sister company Nissan, also plans to build about 25 acres worth of panels at its Valladolid and Palencia factories in Spain, and about 75 acres worth of photovoltaic panels in Buson, South Korea. Read more in Renault's press release below.
      chanonissan
      • 4 Months Ago
      while honda is late to the party as their rival nissan have a few solar plants, it good to see them part take in this effort.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 4 Months Ago
        @chanonissan
        Does Nissan offer a deal to allow its customers to install solar PV at home at little to nothing upfront? Honda does. http://www.hondasolarcity.com/ Does Nissan make and sell solar PV? Honda does. http://world.honda.com/news/2011/c110126Solar-Cell/index.html My comment is not meant to denigrate Nissan, indeed, they have made remarkable achievements in green technologies. OTOH, even a Nissan fanboy must acknowledge that Honda is a leader in solar PV among automakers. "Honda has been installing solar power generation systems at their plants all around Japan and they have so far reached a total combined capacity of 3.3 megawatts." http://solarknowledge.blogspot.com/2012/03/bmw-and-honda-fitting-solar-panels-at.html
        chanonissan
        • 4 Months Ago
        @chanonissan
        nissan is not upfront like honda, but a little read would take you a long way, nissan plants that uses wind (2005) and solar (2007), there are plants all over the world and not only Japan,when you tell me about honda and bmw, nissan was the first automaker to uses solar power in europe (2007),research it if you donot believe, and the article was refering to honda plant powered by solar, go figure,nissan is the sponsor of the biggest green project using wind turbine in yokohamo, japan, nissan does not supply house with solar but they have house solution with ev power, sloar and fuel cell, partner with nichiccon. nissan latest house solution http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/TECHNOLOGY/OVERVIEW/leaf_to_home.html before that nissan house soolution http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2012-11/09/electric-vehicle-hack nissan solar ambition in europe started 2007 http://green.autoblog.com/2007/06/08/nissan-to-save-some-co2-by-installing-solar-panels-on-spanish-pl/ http://www.reliableplant.com/Read/10980/nissan-plant-in-spain-cuts-its-co2-emissions-by-12
        chanonissan
        • 4 Months Ago
        @chanonissan
        ha aha, yea I got down vote for the truth, I repeat my self it is a good effort by honda, but nissan was first in using renewable energy before them, seems some people have an issue with nissan being first.
      chanonissan
      • 4 Months Ago
      that will show you who is a honda fanboy that nissan is the leader, when it comes to renewable energy. in solar and wind.
      chanonissan
      • 4 Months Ago
      how much solar plants honda have outside of japan? nissan have a lot, and yet I get voted down, one in barcelona, in mexico, one in UK, one in USA and the latest one for brazil. I donot care honda is late to the party of solar power plants.
        chanonissan
        • 4 Months Ago
        @chanonissan
        all this down vote for me, i am so happy, I am glad I am not baised, the truth always hurt, that why all the downvotes.
      EZEE
      • 4 Months Ago
      Shouldn't the headline be, "...will sell energy from renewable sources in 2015?" Renewable energy could like, create perpetual motion machines because the energy would keep renewing and then Dan would bow his head and say, "But...this means the need for light weight and aero is no longer a factor" and instantly blink out of existance as his purpose in life would be over. The world....would be a darker place...and yes...I have ADHD...
      Letstakeawalk
      • 4 Months Ago
      I wonder if Nissan uses the solar cells that Honda makes?
      chanonissan
      • 4 Months Ago
      tell me where in the article it mention about honda producing PV cells or it would be produce at factory?, I am sure it stated honda will make a 82 acres of solar energy and will sell 2015, and that is what I exactly refer back to, I stated that honda is behind, nissan have solar energy plants from 2007 and they were the first in europe, and they are the leading company when using renewable energy to power their factories, you are the one who comes up with this nonsense of honda PV production, which is no relevant to the article. Nissan have no production, but they have more capacity than honda who makes it, so what is your point? Nissan have a 100 acres of PV cells in 2012 which is just part of nissan solar system, nissan have PV power factory in Barcelona, mexico ETC, before honda PV production, so what is your point? Nissan was first to use PV cells before honda, so what is your point? What is the point of you mentioning honda PV production and how can honda be a leader as you claim and their rival have more capacity of PV solar power, use it before them
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