West Virginia Toyota plant plans state’s largest solar array

BUFFALO, W.Va. (AP) — A Toyota manufacturing plant in West Virginia is installing 6 acres of solar panels to reduce its reliance on outside energy, which officials said will be the largest solar array in the state.

The project at the Buffalo plant will produce 2.6 megawatts of solar-generated energy, The Herald-Dispatch reported.

The plant is also adopting energy-saving tools. They include smart building technologies to control lighting, heating and air conditioning, and other systems, senior engineering manager Jacob Plasters said this week. A change to LED lighting already has produced a large reduction in daily energy costs, he said.

Established in 1996, Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia manufactures nearly 1 million engines and transmissions for the Toyota Avalon, Camry, Corolla, Highlander, RAV4 and Lexus ES and RX350. In June, it became the first Toyota facility in North America to begin producing hybrid transaxles, which are built for the Highlander and Sienna.

The $4.9 million solar array is scheduled to be complete by March and expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions at the plant by 1,822 metric tons annually.

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Kassie Simmons
Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at ksimmons@woay.com.