Proton’s plant is now fitted with Malaysia’s largest solar panel facility

Proton has unveiled its solar power initiative at its Tanjung Malim plant, a project that will help them reduce their CO2 emissions by over 11 tonnes a year, whilst also generating utility cost savings.

Bi-facial solar panel means that there's solar panels both up and down

Proton’s new solar farm consists of the biggest parking lot bi-facial solar panel facility in Malaysia, as well as solar panels mounted on its factory rooftop. The combined power generated is 12 MWp (Megawatt peak), sufficient to meet up to 25 percent of the power consumption at its plant.

Also Read: Goodyear's Shah Alam plant is now powered by 2.5 MW solar panels

Parking lot solar panels provide a dual purpose

Covering a land area of 23.4 acres, Proton’s motor pool car park provides parking spaces for 2,880 cars and is used as a transit point for cars produced at Tanjung Malim prior to being distributed to dealers and outlets nationwide.

The space is now covered by 20,544 bi-facial solar panels, so named because they can generate energy from direct sunlight on top as well as reflected sunlight from the ground and cars parked underneath the panels. They also provide shaded car storage, offering the newly produced cars protection from the elements.

Also Read: Malaysia is so hot, why can’t we have a solar-powered EV? Here’s why it won’t work

Built and commissioned by Pekat Group and its associate MFP Solar, the parking lot solar panel facility can generate 9 MWp and is the largest in Malaysia as well as for any car manufacturer in the country.

It also allows Proton to potentially save up to RM 4.39 million a year on its energy bill with a further saving of RM 1.46 million available via the 3 MWp generated by the factory roof mounted panels.

"Proton’s solar panel facility is part of the company's green initiative as the company takes up the challenge to help Malaysia meet the government's target of becoming a carbon neutral nation by 2050. Aside from generating utility savings, the use of a clean and renewable energy source will allow us to remove 11,536 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere, benefitting the local community and ecosystem at Tanjung Malim," said Roslan Abdullah, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Proton.

Using solar as part of a holistic energy saving plan

Proton has been on a journey to reduce its carbon footprint since 2015. The company launched its first Proton Green Wheel and Green Policy back in 2015, consisting of 5 phases.

Phase 1 started with implementing an Energy Management System in its production plants and head office to collect and measure usage data. Following two years of energy data gathering and analysis, the company established energy baselines across its plants and offices which provided an insight into areas to reduce energy consumption.

Phase 2 consisted of Energy Efficiency measures where a number of energy saving projects were implemented. These ranged from LED re-lamping, and chiller replacement with magnetic chillers, to using a master compressor unit to synchronise the compressed air supply to match real time demand at each production shop.

This was followed by Phase 3, which focussed on Waste and Water Management. To achieve its aims, Proton implemented a system where recycled water was reused for the compressor cooling tower and to top up water for hydrant water tanks at the Tanjung Malim plant.

Phase 4 is the adoption of renewable energy via the solar energy plant while Phase 5 aims to digitise all ofProton’s energy data on a cloud server to introduce Al and Big Data Analytics technology to provide the company's energy managers with energy consumption predictions and prescriptive measures to reduce energy consumption across all plants and office facilities.

Over a five-year period from 2015 - 2020, these initiatives have achieved an energy bill savings of RM 20 million or equivalent to 55,000 MWh savings and over 40,000 tones of CO2 emission reduction.

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