Mazda turns to Mitsubishi for R&D center solar panels

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Mazda R and D Mitsubishi solar panels.

Mitsubishi Electric solar panels line the rooftop of Mazda’s California Research and Development Center. The panels are expected to provide the facility with about half of its electric power needs, according to Mazda. (Photo courtesy Mitsubishi Electric)

You’d figure for all their talk of efficient dynamism, the folks at Mazda would have energy efficiency down-pat at their buildings. But when it came time to go solar at the automaker’s Irvine, CA Research and Development Center, Mazda said, in effect, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” and called Mitsubishi.

Mitsubishi Electric, in turn, outfitted the R&D Center with 1,222 photovoltaic (PV) modules to provide the facility with a way to generate what Mazda estimated in a press release will amount to about half of its electricity use there. Solar panels now mostly cover the roof of the building.

Mazda North American Operations President and CEO Jim O’Sullivan said, “Diversifying our energy sources and using them efficiently is part of Mazda’s environmental charter to maintain harmony with nature in our business activities worldwide. In addition, as a result of powering this building with solar, we can direct our utility bill savings toward further investment in automotive research and development.”

Mazda said Sherman Oaks, CA-based firm Sun Integration did the install. Along with the Mitsubishi Electric solar panels came a Solectria Renewables inverter and Orion Solar Racking, according to the press release. Mazda estimated the PV system will generate more than 489,684 kWh of electricity annually and will have a life expectancy of about 25 years. That amount of clean energy production over that amount of time will “prevent an estimated 18.6 million pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere,” the release said, noting that figure is the emissions equivalent of burning 19,625 barrels of oil.

Mitsubishi Electric U.S. President and CEO Katsuya Takamiya said, “Mitsubishi Electric prizes our long-standing relationship with Mazda, a valued customer worldwide. We’re pleased to help strengthen the performance of Mazda’s North American Operations by supplying our solar modules, which represent the top quality.”

Mitsubishi Electric is celebrating its 40th year of solar power research and installations, the release noted.

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