Autovolt Magazine

Nothing Small About the New MINI Solar Farm

Althought the MINI electric car is no longer with us – instead serving purely as a testbed before the arrival of the BMW i3 – MINI haven’t forgotten the power of electricity and have installed a solar array to help power production at their Oxford based manufacturing facility.

More than 11,500 panels over an area of more than 20,000 square metres have been installed making the roof mounted solar famr one of the largest ever installed in the UK.

Generating more than 3 MW electricity, the solar farm could power an impressive 850 homes.

Frank Bachmann, managing director of MINI Plant Oxford, said:

“We are delighted that our new solar farm is now up and running and already producing green energy for Plant Oxford. It is fitting that the first of these panels have gone onto our new bodyshop as the building has been designed with environmental performance at its heart.”

The new solar array has been installed to help power the factory’s bodyshop, which contains 1,000 robots and includes 3,869 individually programmable LED lights. Energy saving technology has also been installed with a special energy-saving “rest mode” for the robots, a water harvesting system to supply the toilets and so-called heat wheels in the building’s roof which control the recirculation and admission of fresh air thus reduce the amount of heating and cooling required within the building.

The launch of the solar farm also coincides with Oxford’s first ever ‘Low Carbon Oxford Week’. Plant Oxford was one of the first signatories of the Low Carbon Oxford Charter, which kick started a programme of activities aimed at reducing the city’s carbon footprint by 30% by 2020.

Dr Barbara Hammond, Chair of Low Carbon Oxford and Chief Executive of the Low Carbon Hub, said:

“I am pleased that MINI Plant Oxford has undertaken such a large solar project here in Oxford. We hope to see other businesses, big and small, install solar PV projects, such as those we are developing with local businesses at the Low Carbon Hub.”

MINI solar farm

Source; MINI UK