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 |  Dec 02 2010, 11:15 PM

Audi is all about harnessing the sun for its power. In fact, at its main plant in Ingolstadt, Audi plans for its e-tron models to have their batteries charged with current obtained directly from photovoltaic equipment on the plant site.

That’s not all they’re using the sun for – by the end of the year, Audi is extending its solar energy capacity by adding on photovoltaic modules to a 7,500 square meter area of the new Audi A3 body construction building’s roof.

“This concept shows that Audi is tackling the topic of electromobility systematically,” said Plant Manager Peter Kössler. Using innovative thin-layer modules, this new photovoltaic installation meets stringent environmental protection, efficiency and flexibility standards.

For this project, Audi is once again working with Green City Energy (the automaker worked with the Munich-based company in 2009 to install photovoltaic modules on 11,600 square meters at the Ingolstadt plant). The new addition at Audi will have a peak output rating of 500 kilowatts and about 460 MWh of electricity can be generated from this new installation (that’s enough juice to power 180 households for a whole year). Thanks to this new extension, the plant will increase its total annual output from solar power 1,500 MWh.

The new addition marks the first time that solar energy generated on site has been used directly in Audi’s electricity network. As well as the new battery charging stations for electric cars, other production facilities will also use this green electricity.

Audi also uses solar power in its second German production plant in Neckarsulm. The photovoltaic installation is found on the roofs of garage parking facilities, and generates more than 1,000 MWh of electrical energy annually.