Volkswagen Chattanooga Powers Up Largest Solar Park In Tennessee

Wednesday, January 23, 2013
North View
North View
- photo by Volkswagen

Volkswagen on Wednesday “powered up” the largest single solar installation at an automotive manufacturing facility in the United States and the biggest solar installation in the state of Tennessee. At a dedication ceremony there, dignitaries flipped a giant light switch to signal the official opening of the “Volkswagen Chattanooga Solar Park”, built on Volkswagen’s compound in Chattanooga.

The solar installation at Volkswagen Chattanooga confirms the awarding of the highly-coveted LEED Platinum certification to VW by the U.S Green Building Council in late 2011. At that time, the Building Council called the Chattanooga manufacturing facility “the world’s greenest auto plant” and noted it was the first automotive manufacturing plant in the world to receive the top LEED certification. On Wednesday, the Chattanooga plant remains the only auto plant worldwide to earn the LEED Platinum certification.

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 electricity produced from the solar park is expected to meet 12.5% of the energy needs of Volkswagen’s Chattanooga manufacturing plant during full production and 100% during non-production periods. The plant covers 1.9 million square feet and employs more than 3,000 people who manufacture the highly-acclaimed Volkswagen Passat sedan. For Volkswagen, the solar park in Chattanooga will rank as the automaker’s largest photovoltaic installation worldwide.

Unlike some companies that install solar facilities in order to sell electricity back to utilities, VW will consume 100% of the electricity generated from the polycrystalline solar modules mounted on a Unirac racking system. Ten SMA inverters will convert the solar energy from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) to be used to power the electrical installations in the manufacturing plant.   

Silicon Ranch, which develops and operates solar energy solutions tailored to meet its customers’ needs, will own the solar park and sell the electricity to Volkswagen under a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). Phoenix Solar Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Phoenix Solar AG, provided engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services in building the solar park over the last six months.

Frank Fischer, CEO and chairman of Volkswagen Group of America, Chattanooga Operations LLC, said, “We are proud to power up the biggest solar park of any car manufacturer in North America today. The solar park is another proof point of Volkswagen’s worldwide commitment to environmental protection under its ‘Think Blue. Factory’ philosophy, a broadly focused initiative for all Volkswagen plants to achieve more efficient use of energy, materials and water and produce less waste and emissions.” Mr. Fischer added, “Powering up the solar park also validates the awarding of the LEED Platinum certificate to Volkswagen Chattanooga, which is still the only car factory in the world that has earned such an honor.”

Matthew Kisber, Silicon Ranch president and CEO, said, "We're proud to partner with VW on this important project. Today's ‘Power Up’ launch not only greatly enhances the energy efficiency of VW's Chattanooga plant and reaffirms its place as a true global environmental leader, but it also symbolizes the beginning of a new era in manufacturing operations throughout the region and worldwide. The scope of this solar park and the breadth of how much of the sun's energy will be harnessed here will most certainly have a powerful and lasting positive impact on both our environment and our economy."

Dr. Murray Cameron, chief operating officer of Phoenix Solar AG and president of U.S.-based Phoenix Solar Inc., said, “Phoenix Solar Inc. is extremely proud to have designed and built the largest solar electric photovoltaic (PV) plant in Tennessee for such a prominent global company. This project adds to our extensive list of large-scale solar installations across Europe, the Middle East and North America which are supplying cost-effective and clean electricity to a vast variety of commercial companies and utilities.” Dr. Cameron added, “What is particularly unique and exciting about this solar power plant is that Volkswagen has coupled clean electricity with energy efficiency measures in the factory to showcase how industry can make an immediate and positive contribution to protecting the environment.”

South View
South View
- Photo2 by Volkswagen

New Hamilton County Businesses

Here are the new business licenses from the County Clerk's office: 1ST RESPONDERS CHILL TIME COM 200 W MLK BLVD #1000 CHATTANOOGA, TN 37402 AMERICAN ENGINEERING CONSULTANTS INC 6111 HERITAGE PARK DR STE - A-200 CHATTANOOGA, TN 37416 AMERICAN TRANSPORTERS & DETAILERS 1817 DODDS AVENUE CHATTANOOGA, TN 37404 ANGIE'S PLACE 5030 C HIGHWAY 58 ... (click for more)

Miller And Martin Recognized In 2016 Chambers USA

Chambers and Partners has recognized Miller and Martin practice areas in the 2016 Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business as a leading firm in the areas of Labor and Employment, Corporate/Mergers and Acquisitions and Litigation: General Commercial. Individual lawyers are ranked on the basis of their legal knowledge and experience, their ability, their effectiveness ... (click for more)

Stone Domestic Assault Case Postponed Until Aug. 9

The case in which Bobby Stone is charged with domestic assault against his wife, advisor to Mayor Andy Berke Lacie Stone, has been postponed until Aug. 9. Officials said there will be no further action until the TBI completes its investigation.  The case had been set Tuesday morning before general sessions court Lila Statom. The TBI is believed to be looking into ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Honors Military Veterans

A Memorial Day service was held at the National Cemetery on Monday. (click for more)

Calling Out Bad Behavior In St. Elmo

I have lived in the St. Elmo community of Chattanooga for practicially all 52 years of my life. My grandmother moved to St. Elmo in 1919. My Dad was literally born in a home in St. Elmo and lived his entire 72 years in this community and my Mom has lived here 60 years of her life. I am very disappointed in what my neighborhood has become. I like people. ... (click for more)

Don't Squander The 2016 Election Opportunity

This is what I don't understand. Christians refusing to vote for anyone who is not squeaky clean and who doesn't live up to our standards. I'm not bashing Christians. I proudly proclaim Jesus as Lord and Savior.  But If we made our voice known more we could have a lot greater influence than we have. And I don't mean just boycotting. I specifically mean the last two ... (click for more)