A tire factory in Thailand to host world’s largest rooftop solar array

It will be bigger than 10 American football fields.
Loukia Papadopoulos
Solar panels on a factory's roof.jpg
Representational image: Solar panels on a factory's roof.

Asia-Pacific Images Studio/iStock 

Sometimes milestones happen in the strangest of places. Sumitomo Rubber Industries’ Falken Tires plant in Thailand will soon boast the world’s largest rooftop solar array on a single facility, according to a report by electrek published on Wednesday.

For a bit of history the tire manufacturer was founded in 1909 by the UK’s Dunlop and is today the fifth-largest tire manufacturer in the world, selling its tires in more than 100 countries.

Sumitomo Rubber Industries plans to make its factory 100 percent sustainable. The location currently makes tires for the European market.

The world’s largest rooftop solar installation will consist of around 40,000 solar panels and cover an area of 100,000 square meters (1,076,391 square feet). Electrek notes that that’s bigger than 10 American football fields.

Once operational in January 2025, it will have a total output of around 22 megawatts (MW) and will also be equipped with a new gas cogeneration system that will consist of two 6.6 MW boilers powered by renewable energy.

This feature will replace energy supplied by local utility companies. And that’s not all: biomass from surplus branches and trunks after rubber tree harvesting will also add to the energy mix.

According to electrek, Sumitomo Rubber Industries has ambitious plans to reduce its emissions by half compared with 2017 levels in 2029 and achieve carbon neutrality in 2050.

In August of 2022, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) announced it was building the largest single-site solar park in the world. The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park would aim to produce five gigawatts (GW) by 2030.