BMW says its Zentrum Museum in Greenville, SC, is now fully solar powered and includes three electric-vehicle charging stations, marking the German automaker's continued efforts to boost its green credibility.

With help from Southern Energy Management, BMW spent $500,000 to install 400 solar panels that produce 96 kilowatts of energy, or enough to power the half-acre museum and charging stations. The installation is part of a broader effort by BMW to cut its carbon footprint through initiatives that include factory-efficiency improvements and a hydrogen-storage center.

The German automaker is looking to make strides through plant improvements and vehicle electrification. BMW last month recently started offering leases on its Active E electric vehicle in the U.S. That car is launching in markets such as Los Angeles, New York and Boston, and can be leased for $499 a month with a $2,250 down payment.

The company also joins automakers like Ford Motor Co. and General Motors that have made efforts to cut waste and energy usage at their facilities. Ford Motor Co. said late last month that it planned to reduce landfill waste from its Europe plants by 70 percent and cut water use by 30 percent within five years. And General Motors said last month in its first sustainability report since emerging from bankruptcy in 2009 that more than 80 of its factories produce no landfill materials.
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BMW Adds Solar to Alternative Energy Portfolio

Solar Energy Powers Zentrum Museum and Electric Vehicle (EV) Stations

Spartanburg, S.C. – February 2, 2012... BMW Manufacturing has completed the installation and commissioning of solar panels that are providing solar energy to fully power the 24,000 square foot Zentrum Museum, the plant's heritage museum and visitors center. In addition to the new solar panels, the plant also installed three new electric vehicle charging stations throughout the main facility.

"Adding a new, alternative energy platform to our energy portfolio is another step in our commitment to sustainable methods of generating power at our factory," said Duncan Seaman, Department Manager, Market Operations USA & Canada. "It is the perfect complement to our existing landfill gas-to-energy and hydrogen fuel cell program and offsets the fossil fuel requirements otherwise needed to run our facility."

Installation of 400 solar modules, each capable of producing 240 watts of energy, now provides power to the Zentrum Museum, as well as, the new electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. The solar panels, completed in partnership with Southern Energy Management, were installed in front of the Zentrum Museum parallel to Interstate 85. BMW invested $500,000 in this installation. Southern Energy Management is headquartered in Morrisville, NC with a regional office in Greenville, South Carolina. SunStore Solar also served as a consultant to BMW on this project.

Since 2003, methane gas has been collected, cleaned and compressed from a local landfill and used to power more than 50% of the BMW plant's total energy requirements. In 2009, the company invested $12 million in its landfill gas program to further improve overall efficiency. Implementation of the program has reduced CO2 emissions by about 92,000 tons per year and saves about $5 million annually in energy costs. More recently, the company announced the addition of a hydrogen storage and distribution center within their on-site 11 Megawatt Energy Center to facilitate on-site fueling of a hydrogen-fuel cell material handling fleet inside the 1.2 million square foot assembly plant that completes final assembly of the BMW X3 Sports Activity Vehicle.

BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC
BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC is a subsidiary of BMW AG in Munich, Germany and is the global producer of the BMW X3 and X5 Sports Activity Vehicles and X6 Sports Activity Coupe. In addition to the South Carolina manufacturing facility, BMW Group North American subsidiaries include sales, marketing and financial services operations in the United States, Canada and throughout Latin America; and a design firm and technology office in California. For more information on BMW Manufacturing, visit www.bmwusfactory.com.

BMW Group In America
BMW of North America, LLC has been present in the United States since 1975. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC began distributing vehicles in 2003. The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales, and financial service organizations for the BMW brand of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, the MINI brand, and the Rolls-Royce brand of Motor Cars; DesignworksUSA, a strategic design consultancy in California; a technology office in Silicon Valley and various other operations throughout the country. BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC in South Carolina is part of BMW Group's global manufacturing network and is the exclusive manufacturing plant for all X5 and X3 Sports Activity Vehicles and X6 Sports Activity Coupes. The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 339 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 139 BMW motorcycle retailers, 110 MINI passenger car dealers, and 36 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers. BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group's sales headquarters for North America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.

Information about BMW Group products is available to consumers via the Internet at: www.bmwgroupna.com.