CUNEO, Italy (Jan. 28, 2009)—Michelin plans to install more than 1.5 million square feet of solar panels on its tire plant in Cuneo in a project it calls the largest roof-mounted solar panel installation in Europe.
Michelin did not disclose the value of the installation—which will generate about 10 million kilowatt-hours of elecricity, enough to power 2,000 residences, and reduce emissions by 1,200 metric tons of C02 annually — or the estimated cost savings.
The installation will be carried out by Frey Nouvelles Energies, a Cormontreuil, France-based developer of alternative energy systems, Michelin said. The solar panels should be operational by early 2010.
This marks Michelin's fifth solar panel installation in Europe. The company's four factories in Germany already are so equipped, and a plant in Dundee, Scotland, is partially powered by windmills, Michelin said.
The 46-year-old Cuneo plant produces 26,000 car, light truck and aircraft tires a day —equal to 300 metric tons—as well as 1,000 tons of semi-finished products for other Michelin factories.
The Cuneo plant is being upgraded and expanded as part of a $250 million, five-year investment project disclosed by Michelin last October. Capacity at the plant will be expanded significantly as it absorbs some of the production being phased out at the firm's Turin/Stura, Italy, plant this year.