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SEAT builds the world’s largest solar plant on a car factory

Car manufacturer SEAT, based in Martorell (Greater Barcelona), has set up 53,000 solar panels on the roof of its main factory and on top of parking spaces. The company has just completed the third stage of a €35 million project, which started in 2010, and occupies 10% of the 3 million square metres of its Martorell facilities. The solar panels occupy an extension equivalent to 40 soccer fields and can generate 15 million kWh of clean energy per year. This is equivalent to 25% of the energy needed to produce the Seat Leon or to the “annual consumption of 3,500 households”, said President Jürgen Stackmann. With this eco-friendly project Martorell is now the automation factory with the largest solar plant in the world. Furthermore, the panels were installed over existing facilities and do not occupy additional space.

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12 November 2013 07:00 PM

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ACN / Maria Belmez / Esther Romagosa

Martorell (ACN).- Car manufacturer SEAT has completed this October the third and final stage of the installation of 53,000 solar panels on the roofs its main factory located in Martorell, Greater Barcelona. In addition, the panels have also been set up on top of the pergolas covering the parking space used for new cars before they are distributed. This eco-friendly project, which was launched in June 2010, has transformed the Volkswagen Group’s Martorell factory into the world’s largest solar plant in the car industry. The solar panels cover almost 10 % of the factory’s 3 million square meters, occupying a surface equivalent to 40 soccer fields. The €35 million investment will enable the Catalan company to generate 15 million kWh of clean energy per year, an amount equivalent to 25% of the energy needed to currently produce the Seat Leon or to the “annual consumption of 3,500 households”, said the company’s President Jürgen Stackmann during the opening ceremony.


“We are very pleased of our giant step towards becoming a green factory”, said Stackmann who emphasised that SEAT is located in the “perfect place to take advantage of the power of the sun to generate clean energy”. In his opening speech, Stackmann explained that the company currently is and would be in future years working towards transforming the Martorell industrial plant into the most “effective, efficient and sustainable” factory possible.

The project, called ‘SEAT al Sol’ (Seat in the Sun), was launched in June 2010 with a total investment of €35 million. The last solar panels were installed in October after 3 years of construction. In total, 53,000 solar panels were installed over 276,000 square meters, an area equivalent to 40 soccer fields.

The most eco-friendly factory in the Volkswagen Group

With this new installation of solar energy systems the Martorell factory becomes the most eco-friendly industrial plant in the Volkswagen Group according to SEAT President, the new installation of solar panels will allow the company to reduce CO2 emissions by 7,000 tons per year, a volume equivalent to 1,500 hectares of Mediterranean woodland.

Minimal transformation and innovative installation

One of the advantages of the project was that the structure of the factory itself was used to set up the panels. There was no need to occupy additional land or to modify current production processes in the factory. Constructors used the spacious rooftop of the Seat production halls, to their advantage, as well as of the pergolas of the temporary car parks, where the company stores its newly manufactured vehicles before they are distributed.  

In this latest case, the installation of solar panels above cars can also protect vehicles from the sun or hail storms, thereby minimising defects resulting from the weather-conditions. SEAT can also be considered a pioneer in this matter.

Jürgen Stackmann unveiled the new facilities in the presence of Spanish Home Affairs Minister, Jorge Fernandez Diaz, and the Delegate of the Spanish Government in Catalonia, Maria de los Llanos de Luna. The Catalan Government’s General Director for Energy alsoattended the ceremony. In his speech, Fernandez Diaz highlighted the “success story” which has and always will embody SEAT.

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  • The solar panels on the roof of SEAT's Martorell factory (by E. Romagosa)

  • The solar panels on the roof of SEAT's Martorell factory (by E. Romagosa)