MORE than 11,500 solar panels are helping cutting carbon emissions at Cowley Mini Plant.

More than 20,000sqm of panels – the size of five football pitches – have been installed on the plant’s bodyshop, which opened last year.

As summer gets truly underway, the system is now fully up and running and is expected to generate enough electricity to power 850 homes a year.

It will be run by Free Green Energy Corporation Limited under a 20-year deal with plant owner BMW Group UK.

The car manufacturer hopes it will cut 1,500 tonnes of CO2 a year, about 42 days of energy use for the average home.

Frank Bachmann, managing director of Mini Plant Oxford, said: “We are delighted that our new solar farm is now up and running and already producing green energy for Plant Oxford.

“It is fitting that the first of these panels have gone onto our new bodyshop as the building has been designed with environmental performance at its heart.”

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