The LEGO Group has decided to install 20,000 solar panels on the roof of the new LEGO factory in Jiaxing, China. The factory will be officially inaugurated on November 25th. The solar panels will be installed during 2018 and when fully operational in early 2019, the panels will produce almost six gigawatts annually – equivalent to the electricity use of more than 6,000 Chinese households. The solar panels will provide approximately 7% of the factory’s total electricity consumption – or enough to run 76 moulding machines.
The investment in solar panels in China follows the LEGO Group's investments in offshore wind farms off the coasts of Germany and the United Kingdom in recent years – investments that will support the ambition of balancing the LEGO Group's total energy consumption with renewable energy by 2020.
“We want to reduce the impact we have on the planet when making LEGO products. Our investments in renewable and clean wind energy as well as the solar panels at the factory in Jiaxing are important additions to the many other initiatives we are already taking globally to reduce our impact on the environment,” says Tim Brooks, Vice President, Environmental Sustainability at the LEGO Group.
Compared to the use of conventional energy sources, the solar panels at the Jiaxing factory will reduce CO2 emissions by 4,000 tonnes annually.
“By installing solar panels at the factory in China, we can utilise clean solar energy directly at our manufacturing site. We will install 20,000 solar panels covering an area equivalent to more than five football fields – the maximum number possible given the roof layout and need for access,” says Tim Brooks.
The panels are one of many features to reduce the environmental impact. The Jiaxing factory also has 100% LED lighting, twice the required level of insulation, solar thermal panels to generate hot water for washrooms, state of the art efficient moulding machines, use of rainwater for irrigation, and electric vehicles for on-site transportation.
“Combined, these initiatives make the Jiaxing site an inspiration for our other manufacturing sites when it comes to reducing the energy consumption and minimising our environmental impact. In addition to aiming for 100% renewable energy, we also want to reduce the amount of energy we use per LEGO brick we make, and we want to use energy in a better way,” says Tim Brooks.
As an example, over the course of the last 3 years the amount of energy used to manufacture a LEGO® brick has reduced by 16 percent. The ambition for 2016 is a further 2.5% percent reduction. (For more information, please see The LEGO Group Responsibility Report 2015).
“In our desire to make a positive impact and leave a better world for future generations, we live by the motto 'only the best is good enough' devised by the LEGO Group’s founder, Ole Kirk Kristiansen. The investment in solar panels should be seen in this light, although we consider our most positive impact on society and the world coming from the safe and high-quality LEGO play experiences that inspire and develop children all over the world,” says Tim Brooks.
About the solar panels:
Size: 20,000 panels covering an area equivalent to more than five football fields – the maximum size possible on-site due to the layout of the roof, need for access and maintenance, and the use of skylights on the roof tops.
Energy output: 6 gigawatts annually – equivalent to approximately 7% of the factory’s total energy consumption annually – or the energy use of more than 6,000 Chinese households.
Installation: To be installed during 2017.