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Nissan has announced plans for expansion to renewable energy generation at its plant in Sunderland, UK.

The company claims that the existing wind turbines and solar farm, the proposed 20MW solar farm extension represents a step in Nissan's path to carbon neutrality.

If approved, the 37,000-panel extension would result in 20% of the plant's energy coming from all onsite renewables, which the company claims is enough to build every single zero-emission Nissan LEAF sold in Europe.

The plans are to be shared with the local community this week, ahead of a formal planning application being submitted.

"Renewables have already made a big difference to our business and we continue to look for ways to make the manufacturing process more sustainable," said Alan Johnson, vice president, Manufacturing at Nissan Sunderland. “As our products made in Sunderland become increasingly electrified, our manufacturing operations are an important part of the ecosystem that will take us to carbon neutrality."

Nissan began integrating renewable energy sources in Sunderland in 2005 when the company installed its first wind turbines on site. According to a statement from the company, these 10 turbines contribute 6.6MW power, with the existing 4.75MW solar farm installed in 2016. The proposed 20MW solar farm extension would take the total output of renewables to 32MW at the plant.

The solar farm is being developed and installed by partner company Engenera. The first step in the process is a community consultation which starts this week, with a full planning application expected to follow later this year.

The company has set itself the goal to achieve carbon neutrality across the company's operations and the life cycle of its products by 2050. Nissan plans to electrify all its cars by early 2030s in key markets.

Nissan's EV Leaf was one of the first mass-market to be introduced. The car was launched more than ten years ago.

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