The large roof areas of factories and production plants are an obvious choice for the installation of solar cells and Audi has just announced it will install additional photovoltaic modules on a 7,500 square meter (80,729 sq. ft.) area of the roof of its main plant in Ingolstadt, Germany. The expanded solar capacity will be used to charge the batteries of Audi’s e-tron models using new electric car charging stations and will also be used to provide green electricity to the plants’ production facilities.

The Ingolstadt plant already boasts 11,600 square meters (124,862 sq. ft.) of photovoltaic modules, which were installed in 2009. The additional 7,500 square meters of solar cells, which will be installed by the end of the year, will provide a peak output rating of 500 kilowatts with approximately 460 MWh of electricity obtainable from the new installation – enough to satisfy the needs of around 180 households.

This is the first time that solar energy generated on site has been used directly in Audi’s electricity network and Audi says the extension increases the total annual output from all the plant’s installations of this type to about 1,500 MWh, of which approximately one third is used directly where it is generated.

“This concept shows that Audi is tackling the topic of electromobility systematically,” said Plant Manager Peter Kössler. The photovoltaic installation uses thin-layer modules that Audi says satisfy the most stringent environmental protection, efficiency and flexibility standards. “We aim to set the standards in every area,” added Kössler.

Audi also makes use of solar energy at its second German production plant in Neckarsulm where solar cells located on the roofs of several garage parking facilities generates more than 1,000 MWh of electricity annually.