Ford will power factory with rooftop solar system

America’s Ford Motor Corporation will be manufacturing its vehicles in Thailand with solar power, thanks to an agreement signed with a Thai renewable energy firm to build a rooftop solar system at the automaker’s factory.

WHA Utilities and Power (WHAUP), Thailand’s biggest industrial land developer and operator, has secured a contract to develop a 5-megawatt rooftop solar panel project for Auto Alliance Thailand, which runs a shared assembly facility for Ford and Mazda automakers.

The solar panels should be operational in August and cover more than 484,000 square feet of roof space at the Rayong province plant. Rayong is part of the three-province Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), Thailand’s advanced development zone where many next-generation industries are clustering.

Kel Kearns, CEO of Auto Alliance Thailand, said that his company chose WHAUP because of its expertise in engineering work, safety standards and integrated services. The decision to go solar, however, was motivated by the bottom line and environmental concerns.

Kearns added that rooftop solar panels could help his company reduce production costs by over $26 million over the next 25 years. The system will also enable the company to reduce its carbon emissions by 92,500 tons during that same time.

Auto Alliance Thailand is determined to play a role in fighting global warming and lessening the impact of greenhouse gases on the atmosphere.

Niphon Bundechan, CEO of WHUP, said that his company’s solar systems were catching on with industrial customers in the Kingdom.

“We have so far signed a total of 52 megawatts of rooftop solar energy investment deals with nearly 40 customers,” Niphon said.

This means that the company exceeded its target of 50 megawatts by the end of 2020. The new goal is to double that to 100 megawatts by the end of 2022. Customer companies are located both within and outside the industrial estates owned and managed by WHA.

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