More than 70 percent of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Alabama’s power will soon be generated by the sun. Huntsville Utilities, Toyota Alabama and Toyota Tsusho America, Inc. (TAI) announced a power purchase agreement to support a 168-acre, $49 million solar project.
The 30-megawatt solar-generated system will be located in the North Huntsville Industrial Park, surrounding the Toyota engine plant. It is expected to generate 62,000 megawatt hours annually – reducing approximately 22,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year. That’s enough solar energy to power more than 5,600 U.S. homes. This project is another step towards accomplishing the automaker’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality in its operations by 2035.
“Toyota is taking a transparent, science-based approach to address climate change,” said Jason Puckett, president of Toyota Alabama. “By relying on the sun to power our operations, we will reduce our carbon footprint and create a model of environmental stewardship in North Alabama.”
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TAI’s Energy Infrastructure Solutions team led the project’s development and will manage the construction, scheduled to begin this spring. As the owner of the solar facility, they will be responsible for long-term operations.
“Finding smart, creative solutions to climate change is an urgent and global focus for our company,” said Naoyuki Hata, TAI president and CEO. “Using our know-how to bring projects like this to life aligns with our goal of creating positive impacts in local communities, while also helping create pathways to a sustainable future globally.”
Putting Solar on the Grid
The PPA with Huntsville Utilities marks a new era of clean energy production for the municipal utility company. Through its long-term agreement with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), this facility will be the largest flexibility project in the region, pioneering a shift in TVA’s relationship with local power companies across the Tennessee River Valley.
“Huntsville Utilities is constantly looking for opportunities to innovate and enhance the nature in which we serve our community,” said Wes Kelley, president of Huntsville Utilities. “Due to our collaboration with Toyota, TAI and TVA, we are helping shape the future for communities and companies in the region and beyond. We are both proud and thankful to be a part of this project with Toyota.”
The solar facility is scheduled to begin generating solar energy in summer of 2024.
Since Toyota Alabama started production in 2003, the plant has expanded six times and represents a $1.5 billion investment. In 2022, Toyota Alabama’s 1,900 employees assembled more than 665,000 engines and hybrid engines. The plant supplies engines for popular Toyota vehicles such as the Tundra, Corolla Cross and Sienna.