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Solar panels to help Ford go carbon neutral in Europe by 2035

Across the entirety of its European operations, Ford is aiming to be carbon neutral by 2035, an ambitious goal to be certain. This applies not only to manufacturing plants but the company’s logistics and suppliers as well. Solar power will play a major role in helping the automaker go green, and on Tuesday, Ford announced it installed a new solar power plant at its Almussafes manufacturing site in Valencia, Spain.

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Solar panels will provide loads of power to Ford’s manufacturing plant in Valencia, Spain. Photo credit: Ford

The automaker just added 2.8 megawatts of clean power-generating capability to this facility, but the total will be increased by an additional 2.2 MW later in the year. By 2024, Ford is aiming to have nearly 10 MW of solar panels at its Valencia site.

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The photovoltaic area currently installed is divided into two zones. In total, the panels are capable of generating and estimated 4,641 megawatt-hours of power per year, which is enough juice to run 1,400 average homes. This summer, that total will be increased by another 3,762 MWh, enough to run an additional 1,100 households. All told, these improvements add up to a meaningful reduction in the amount of electricity Ford’s Valencia facility will have to draw from the power grid, though since January 1, 2022, all the energy used at this plant has come from renewable sources.

Of course, one nice thing about solar panels is that they can be installed in areas that normally lie fallow. Fields that are not suitable for agriculture, the rooftops of buildings and other spaces with limited commercial uses are ideal locations to install these power-generating panels.

Stuart Southgate, director of sustainable, environmental and safety engineering at Ford of Europe said in a company statement, “Now, more than ever, we all realize the need to use renewable energy sources. As we move to an all-electric future and carbon neutrality across our manufacturing footprint at Ford, investments in innovations like this new solar power plant in Valencia creating new self-supplied renewable energy, which is an important contribution in our ongoing ambition to help build a better world.”

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Solar is a great way to go green. Photo credit: Ford

Going completely carbon neutral in Europe by 2035 is an ambitious goal, but Ford is already well on the way to achieving this. In fact, all of the automaker’s manufacturing facilities in Europe are already completely powered by renewable energy. Getting its logistics cleaned up and pushing supplier partners to go green are some of the challenges that remain.

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This announcement from Ford of Europe dovetails nicely with news the company made last August. The automaker announced a partnership with DTE Energy where all of Ford’s electricity needs in the state of Michigan will soon be derived from clean sources. Supporting this, DTE plans to add 650 MW of green power-generating capability by 2025 to meet Ford’s needs. This single investment will increase the amount of installed solar panels in the state by a whopping 70%. Aside from that, this investment will create 250 temporary jobs and 10 permanent positions, plus it will help avoid pumping as many as 600,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere every year.

Written by Craig Cole

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