Creating the largest solar panel structure for industrial use in Spain has not only reduced Nissan Motor Ibérica’s carbon footprint and lowered its energy bills, but has also won the company an important award.

In recognition of the moves made to improve its energy efficiency, Nissan has won the 2008 Carles Ferrer Salat Award, presented annually by Fomento del Trabajo Nacional, a confederation of Catalan businesses.

Reducing the CO2 output of its factories is one of Nissan’s objectives for all its workplaces worldwide, with the company’s environmental strategy – Nissan Green Program 2010 – also promising to cut the exhaust emissions from its cars and dramatically increase recycling on a global scale.

Nissan has achieved serious reductions in CO2 emissions by adopting a system of solar energy power supply. By the end of 2007, a total of 1,428 solar, photovoltaic and thermal panels had been installed across its Zona Franca plant in Barcelona and at Avila in Castile and León, enabling the factories to cut CO2 production by up to 381 tonnes per year.

At the Avila plant, where Nissan makes light commercial vehicles, the largest solar panel structure in Spain covers 1,335m2 and will generate 928,000 kW-h of power a year.

“We have instigated the biggest installation of thermal panels for industrial use in Spain and have put in place a large number of photovoltaic panels in our plants in Barcelona and Avila,” said José Vicente de los Mozos, CEO of Nissan Motor Ibérica. “This has involved a major financial investment as part of Nissan’s global strategy to cut CO2 emissions and protect the environment.”

Since 2005, Nissan’s factory in Barcelona, the carmaker’s biggest plant in Spain, has cut its CO2 emissions by 9,400 tonnes, or 12%. By 2010, Nissan in Spain will have reduced its CO2 emissions by 16,000 tonnes, an improvement of 13% over the 2005 figure. At Zona Franca, reductions are expected to reach 20%.