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(Reuters) - German car maker Volkswagen AG has powered up a giant 9.5 megawatt solar system that will provide about 12.5 percent of the electricity used at its Chattanooga, Tennessee, manufacturing plant.
The solar park is designed to produce 13.1 gigawatt hours of electricity per year, equivalent to the energy consumed annually by about 1,200 homes in the area, Volkswagen said on Wednesday.
The solar park occupies 33 acres, or half of the 66-acre land parcel adjacent to the VW plant. It contains 33,600 solar modules from Chinese solar power manufacturer JA Solar Holdings Co Ltd, VW said.
VW said the solar park, which came online Wednesday, produces enough power to meet 12.5 percent of its manufacturing plant's electricity during full production and 100 percent during non-production periods.
VW said the plant employs more than 3,000 people and manufactures the Volkswagen Passat sedan.
VW will consume 100 percent of the electricity generated at the solar park.
Tennessee-based Solar power company Silicon Ranch owns the solar park and is selling the electricity to Volkswagen under a 20-year power purchase agreement.
Phoenix Solar Inc, the U.S. unit of German solar company Phoenix Solar AG, built the project for Silicon Ranch.
Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe