The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant for its environmentally friendly operations, honoring the organization with a 2013 Green Power Leadership Award.
Volkswagen Chattanooga was one of four organizations nationwide to receive a Leadership Award for the on-site generation of “green” power, specifically with an on-site solar energy system that meets 12.5 percent of the organization’s needs during full production and 100 percent during non-production periods.
The solar panel system currently generates more than 13 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually, according to the automaker. Volkswagen Chattanooga currently avoids the equivalent CO2 emissions of nearly 2,000 passenger vehicles per year through the use of this system, according to the EPA.
Volkswagen Chattanooga is an element of the automaker’s LEED Platinum certification, which the U.S. Green Building Council awarded to VW in late 2011. The Council noted that this plant was the first automotive manufacturing plant in the world to receive the top LEED certification level. VW noted that this plant is still the only auto plant worldwide to earn the top LEED Platinum certification.
Regarding the generation of electricity via solar, the Volkswagen Chattanooga Solar Park occupies 33 acres, or half of the 66-acre land parcel adjacent to Volkswagen’s plant, according to the company. The solar park has 33,600 solar modules from JA Solar. The plant covers 1.9 million square feet and employs approximiately 2,500 people who manufacture the Volkswagen Passat sedan. For VW, the solar park in Chattanooga ranks as the automaker’s largest photovoltaic installation worldwide.
Volkswagen Chattanooga currently ranks at number 15 on the EPA’s Top 20 On-site Generation list, which highlights EPA Green Power Partners that have achieved the highest annual on-site green power generation through July 3, 2013. EPA updates its Top Partner Lists quarterly at http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/toplists/.