Mike Stevens | Jun 4, 2014

Toyota’s Australian manufacturing program may now have an expiry date, but from this week it will be a greener operation.

Come tomorrow, on World Environment Day, Toyota will flick the switch on a new solar panel array at its Altona plant in Victoria.

Partially funded by the Federal Government’s now defunct Clean Technology Investment Fund, the system has been in the works for more than a year - before Toyota had decided to pull the pin on manufacturing in Australia.

The 500kW system was installed by Sydney group Autonomous Energy and features 2000 solar panels sourced from Japanese company Kyocera. The array covers 10,000m2 of roof space.

The system is Victoria’s largest largest rooftop solar array and, according to Toyota Australia engineer Mario Como, is also the first in Australia to connect directly with an industrial facility’s own high-voltage network through a single inverter and transformer.

“As a manufacturer we acknowledge that we are a high-energy user, which is why Toyota globally is committed to leading the way with environmental research and technologies,” Toyota Australia boss Dave Buttner said.

“We are still building cars and engines in Australia until the end of 2017 so it is important that we continue to engage in new programs that minimise our carbon footprint.”

“The solar panel system will not only assist us in reducing energy consumption, but it will also improve our already strong environmental performance and reduce our electricity costs over the next few years.”

Autonomous Energy says the system will produce enough renewable energy to power the equivalent of 200 homes.

MORE: Toyota News and Reviews

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