Solar power is nothing new to Toyota, but the company's latest solar array does offer something new to North America: the largest such single-roof installation on the continent.
According to Toyota, a new huge solar set-up (it covers 242,000 square feet and is made up of more than 10,000 modules) is gearing up for an early October start on the roof of Toyota's North America Parts Center California (NAPCC), located in Ontario, Calif. This solar farm is bigger than any other such installation and will produce 3.7 million kilowatts a year, almost 60 percent of the energy needed at the NAPCC. The installation was put up by SunPower. In related news, two Toyota dealerships were awarded LEED status, with more on the way. Click past the break for the details.

[Source: Toyota]



PORTLAND, Ore., Sept. 24, 2008 -- The largest single-roof solar power installation in North America will begin operation in early October at Toyota's North America Parts Center California (NAPCC), located in Ontario, Calif.

The solar installation will provide nearly 60 percent of the total electricity requirements for the 760,000-square foot NAPCC. The installation covers more than 242,000 square-feet of the NAPCC's roof and includes 10,417 solar modules, enough to cover more than four football fields.

With a total capacity of 2.3 megawatts, the installation is capable of generating 3.7 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually, power that won't be drained from the electrical grid. The system also will avoid carbon dioxide emissions of about 6.4 million pounds annually, equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions from energy use of 255 homes.

"Toyota's Earth Charter challenges the company to pursue all possible environmental technologies in the pursuit of sustainable mobility," said Jim Lentz, president of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. "That extends the company's environmental responsibilities beyond products to include our manufacturing plants and other facilities where sustainable and renewable energy sources such as solar power are increasingly important."

NAPCC electricity costs per kilowatt-hour have increased 266 percent since 1992. Facility energy conservation efforts have reduced electricity usage by 28.5 percent during the past five years, but annual electricity use still remains over 5,788,000 kilowatt-hours.

The system was designed and built by SunPower, using its high-efficiency panels that deliver 50 percent more power per unit than conventional panels. A lightweight state-of-the-art SunPower mounting system further maximizes power delivery.

The NAPCC is not Toyota's first foray into solar power. The company's South Campus headquarters building in Torrance, Calif., featured one of the largest privately funded systems of its kind when it opened in 2003. Also built by SunPower, the system covers 53,000 square feet of rooftop.


PORTLAND, Ore., Sept., 24, 2008 -- Auto dealerships are now playing a leading role in the development of buildings and facilities meeting the highest environmental construction standards.

Two Toyota dealerships have become the first in the country to receive certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) through its Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) program. Four other Toyota dealerships are expected to receive LEED certification before the end of the year and as many as 10 more could be certified in 2009.

"Dealers are recognizing the advantages and opportunities presented by building green," says Michael Bevan, corporate manager, Retail Market Development at Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. "Research shows that consumers are becoming increasingly aware of businesses in their community that are taking a leadership role in addressing environmental issues. It also makes good business sense to dealers who can re-coup their investment and start realizing savings in five years or less."

Pat Lobb Toyota (McKinney, Texas), was the first auto dealership in the country to be recognized by the USGBC with Silver LEED certification. It was followed earlier this year by Toyota of Rockwall (Texas) which received Gold certification. In addition, Caldwell Toyota in Conway, Ark., Mark Miller Toyota in Salt Lake City, Utah, Kendall Toyota in Eugene, Ore., and Jerry Durant Toyota in Granbury, Texas, have completed dealership construction and are undergoing the LEED certification process.

The USGBC is a non-profit organization committed to expanding sustainable building practices. It provides various levels of LEED certification based on evaluations in such areas as sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. The USGBC reports that 48 percent of the nation's energy is used by buildings, including 70 percent of the nation's electric use.

To achieve Gold certification status, Toyota of Rockwall made extensive use of recycled and energy-saving materials. For instance, four water cisterns capable of holding 63,500 gallons of rainwater and air conditioning condensation are used for landscape irrigation. The landscape itself consists of native plants, trees and grasses that are drought and disease-resistant. The roof is made of materials that reflect 90 percent of the sun's heat energy.

"Once we decided to do a green dealership, we decided to stretch the envelope and go for the Gold," said Steve Jackson, owner of Toyota of Rockwall. "We hope to play a leadership role in building environmental awareness in the community and to be a place where students come to learn about the environment."

Both certified Toyota dealerships were built as part of the company's Eco-Image USA II initiative that also puts an emphasis on the environment. Under the program, panels used on the building's exterior are made up of 90 percent recycled aluminum. The distinctive portal entryway uses non-lead glass and shades the showroom from direct sunlight. LED lighting is used rather than incandescent and fluorescent lights to further reduce energy use. Toyota also is assisting dealers with cutting edge green options, including different power sources such as solar, wind and geothermal.

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