Chattanooga is now home to the biggest solar installation in Tennessee and for a U.S. auto factory.
That's according to Volkswagen, which powered up its 9.5 MW solar park at the Chattanooga location last week.
The system will provide 12.5 percent of the already LEED Platinum-certified plant's electricity. That jumps to 100 percent during non-production periods, according to the automaker.
The Volkswagen Chattanooga Solar Park occupies 33 acres, or half of the 66-acre land parcel adjacent to VW's state-of-the-art manufacturing plant. The solar park contains 33,600 solar modules from JA Solar designed to produce 13.1 gigawatt hours of electricity per year -- equivalent to the energy consumed annually by around 1,200 homes in the area.
The solar installation is part of VW's "Think Blue" initiative for all Volkswagen plants to achieve more efficient use of energy, materials and water and produce less waste and emissions, said Frank Fischer, CEO and chairman of Volkswagen Group of America.
Photo: From left to right: Dr. Andreas Haenel, Phoenix Solar AG/ Jim Coppinger, Mayor Hamilton County/ Frank Fischer, Volkswagen Chattanooga/Matt Kisber, Silicon Ranch/ Ron Littlefield, Mayor Chattanooga/Wolfram Thomas, Volkswagen AG/ Dr. Murray Cameron, Phoenix. Photo courtesy of Volkswagen.