The SEAT al Sol (SEAT Sun) project, the third and final phase of which was completed this month, has seen the Spanish company install 53,000 solar panels at its manufacturing plant, covering a 270,000 square metre area – equivalent to 40 football pitches.
That generates 15,000,000 kWh per year, which is a quarter of the energy required annually to produce the new SEAT Leon. That reduces Martorell’s environmental impact significantly, saving 7,000 tonnes of CO2emissions per year in the production process.
Project SEAT al Sol was developed together with photovoltaic panel developer Gestamp Solar to provide clean energy on an industrial scale, but without interrupting car manufacturing at the Martorell facility. In fact, the intelligent installation of the solar panels has provided an additional benefit – some also serve as overhead protection for completed cars against adverse weather conditions.
SEAT’s commitment to environmental responsibility
Since its inception in mid-2010, SEAT has invested €35m in SEAT al Sol and made it the company’s flagship environmental commitment. It complements other emissions reduction initiatives, including Martorell’s two train lines, one of which transports vehicles directly to the Port of Barcelona (the Autometro), and the other components from the premises of the Zona Franca of Barcelona (the Cargometro).
These two 40 kilometre lines reduce truck use by 50,000 trips per year, with an estimated emissions reduction of 2,000 tons of CO2.
Moreover, Martorell’s cogeneration plant generates 50% of the power and 90% of the thermal energy that it consumes, saving up to 12,800 tonnes of CO2 per year. In addition, thanks to an agreement between SEAT and renewable energy supplier ACCIONA, all of the power comes from renewable sources.
The effort and ability of SEAT to establish and encourage high levels of environmental protection were recognised with ISO 50001 and ISO 14001 certificates. Also, the quality and efficiency applied in production processes has made the Martorell factory the first Spanish production centre to receive an Automotive Lean Production Award, in October 2013.
With these initiatives, the Spanish brand will contribute to the environmental commitment of the Volkswagen Group, which aims to increase the level of sustainability of its factories by 25% by 2018.