Texas may be known for its oil industry, but it also has one asset that makes it a great place for renewable energy: sunshine. Toyota hopes to take advantage of that when it moves its North American headquarters from California to Plano, Texas, next year.
The Japanese carmaker plans to install a 7.75-megawatt solar power system at its new headquarters. The system is expected to take care of 25 percent of the Toyota campus’ power needs. Toyota also claims it will be the largest solar installation at a corporate office in Texas that isn’t part of a utility company.
The system will be installed in phases. The first phase includes two parking structures, with 2.45 megawatts worth of solar panels each, and should come online by August 2017. By December of that year, Toyota hopes to add more panels on a third parking structure, producing about 2.83 megawatts of power. Additional installations will presumably add more capacity. The full installation will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 7,122 metric tons (7,850 tons), according to Toyota.
The carmaker already has a solar installation at its current headquarters in Torrance, California. It covers 53,000 square feet of rooftop on the site’s South Campus headquarters building. Toyota also previously installed solar panels at its North American parts center in Ontario, California, as well as an engine plant in Huntsville, Alabama, and a factory in Blue Springs, Mississippi.
Toyota announced the move to Plano, a suburb of Dallas, in 2014, and broke ground on the new headquarters site last year. The move will consolidate operations from the current California headquarters, as well as sites in Erlanger, Kentucky, and New York City, although Toyota will still have a sizable footprint in those locations.
While Toyota has run its U.S. operations out of California since 1957, the move is expected to bring significant tax benefits and other cost reductions. The Texas HQ will also be closer to Toyota’s many factories in Southern states, which include a truck plant in Texas itself.