Toyota to Install Commercial Solar-Electric Rooftop System

Toyota to Install Commercial Solar-Electric Rooftop System

Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. will soon sport the largest commercial solar rooftop electric system in North America, at its headquarters in Torrance, Calif. The 501 kilowatt solar system, which can generate enough electricity in the daytime to power more than 500 homes, will be installed this fall.

“Environmental stewardship and energy improvements are at the heart of Toyota’s operation,” said Sanford Smith, TMS Corporate Manager of Real Estate and Facilities. “Generation of solar electricity is very consistent with Toyota's commitment to continuously improving every aspect of our company’s operations. This solar electric system supports Toyota’s top initiative regarding the environment and demonstrates our commitment to the environment."

By investing in onsite solar generation, Toyota says it will be able to integrate solar electricity into its energy mix, lower its operating costs, as well as reduce its purchase of expensive peak electricity. In addition, this reduces the overall load on the utility grid during peak usage hours – those times when electricity prices are highest, and the grid is most vulnerable to blackouts.

Solar electric systems, such as this one commissioned by Toyota, spare the environment from thousands of tons of emissions, such as nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide, which are major contributors to smog, acid rain and global warming. It is estimated that over the 25-year lifetime of Toyota’s new solar electric system, the solar generated electricity will reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides by 10,250 lbs. and carbon dioxide by 12,300 tons. These emissions reductions are equivalent to planting 853,000 trees or not driving 54,000,000 miles.

The solar system, produced by PowerLight Corp., covers 52,000 square feet of Toyota’s South Campus expansion, and features 3,300 solar electric tiles. PowerLight’s PowerGuard roof system was selected as the best solar electric technology application for Toyota Motor Sales’ expansive flat roof space; it’s a patented, lightweight photovoltaic roofing assembly that delivers clean solar electricity to the building while protecting the roof from damaging effects of weather and UV radiation. Additionally, the tiles provide added thermal insulation benefits to the building.

Toyota’s two-building, five-pod South Campus expansion is on track to receive a silver certificate for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the U.S. Green Building Council. In addition to deploying on-site green power generation, the buildings and construction methods will demonstrate advanced environmental planning, such as:

  • Designing building "envelopes" to exceed state energy efficiency mandates by 20%
  • Recycling more than 90% of the waste generated by demolition and construction
  • Specifying wood from certified sustainable forests for construction and interior finishes
  • Using steel from recycled automobiles to cast the buildings’ structural beams and columns
  • Including an "alternative energy yard" in the site plan