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Hyundai reaches for the sun

Time in the sun: Hyundai will fit Korea's largest roof-mounted solar plant to one of its factories.

Korea’s largest roof-mounted photovoltaic solar array to be fitted to Hyundai plant

10 May 2013

HYUNDAI will follow the lead of fellow automotive giants General Motors and Volkswagen by fitting a huge solar power plant to one of its factories.

South Korea’s largest car-maker this week announced plans to fit a large photovoltaic facility to the roof of its plant in Asan by the end of 2013. Hyundai claims it will be the largest rooftop solar plant of its kind in the country.

The company says it will team up with thermal power company Korea Midland to install about 40,000 solar modules to the rooftops of Asan’s press, welding, assembly and engine buildings.

The 213,000-square-metre area to be equipped with the modules accounts for around 68 percent of the total roof space, and the peak capacity of the combined modules will reach 10 megawatts.

Hyundai says the panels will produce more power than the factory needs, with excess power available to Korea Electric Power Corporation to buy and feed into surrounding areas.

The completed plant will be capable of supplying up to 11.5 million KWh of electricity a year, or provide a stable supply of electricity for up to 3200 households.

For a thermoelectric plant to produce the same amount of energy, it would release 5600 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Hyundai says that erasing this much CO2 from the air via solar power generation is equivalent to planting 1.1 million pine trees.

As the panels will be mounted on existing rooftops, they require no extra land, mitigating further environmental issues.

Sprinklers used to cool the solar modules will also help the plant save energy by lowering temperatures indoors during hot seasons.

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