honda solar graphic

The sun should be smiling on the new Honda facility in Sakura, Japan, where the automaker is installing a "mega solar system" that can produce 10 MW a year on a new test course. The track will cover 25 hectares (about 62 acres) and be used to test "advanced safety technologies," but we're more impressed by the 70,000 solar panels on a 33 hectares (82 acres) lot. Honda doesn't have plans for that much electricity in Sakura, and so hopes to start selling that green energy in 2015. We'll give Honda credit for using the word "biotope" in the press release (available below), describing the biological community it plans to build on the property.

Honda's 82-acre solar farm will be bigger than Hyundai's 50-acre field in Korea and Volkswagen's 33-acres of solar panels near Chattanooga, TN. Other automakers, like Renault and BMW, have also installed solar energy generators in various places. Over in Saitama, Japan, Honda uses solar energy to create hydrogen for H2 cars like the FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle.
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Honda to Build New Test Course and Mega Solar System in Sakura, Japan

TOKYO, Japan, August 8, 2013 - Honda Motor Co., Ltd. announced plans to build a new test course and mega solar system on its property in the city of Sakura in Tochigi prefecture, Japan.

In 2007 Honda initially announced its plan to build a large-scale test course featuring a high-speed circuit with a 4 km long track, but postponed the plan due to the global economic recession that began in 2008. Reflecting recent changes in the business environment surrounding the automobile industry and in the market needs, Honda modified the purpose and scale of the plan and decided to build the new test course (approximately 25 ha in size) which will be utilized for the development of advanced safety technologies.

In addition, Honda will build a solar power generation system with an annual capacity of 10 MW within the same property in Sakura. After installing approximately 70,000 solar panels on an approximately 33 ha lot, Honda is planning to begin sales of the generated electricity in 2015. Moreover, as a part of its effort to conserve the natural environment, Honda is also planning to build a biotope within the property and will welcome members of the local community to enjoy it.

While continuing proactive development of safety technologies, Honda positions global environmental issues, especially climate change and energy issues, as a top priority and contributes to the reduction of its environmental footprint by promoting widespread use of renewable energy.