So, we’re not exactly talking about a rapid, rocket-fueled, zero-to-60 shift to renewables that will soar anywhere near the pace of the epic lineup of turbo-powered cars that Porsche has rolled out over the years. But you can count in the luxury automaker as the latest within its industry to join the race along the clean energy autobahn.
Earlier this week, Porsche, or technically PCNA (Porsche Cars North America), announced it would invest in a solar power installation — in the form of a sizable microgrid that will generate power for its expanding campus and will be connected to the wider power grid — at the company’s North American headquarters in Georgia.
The company that Porsche has tasked with building the installation, Cherry Street Energy, says the solar array at the automaker’s campus will generate 2,050 megawatt hours (MWh) of clean electricity a year, or the equivalent of keeping the lights on at almost 200 homes annually. Crunching the numbers differently, Porsche and Cherry Street Energy claim the amount of renewable electricity generated will result in an estimated carbon emissions reduction of 3.2 million pounds annually, or nixing more than 3.5 million miles of driving by typical passenger cars.
Construction of the installation is expected to begin next month and conclude at some point in 2023. Porsche has inked a 25-year agreement with Cherry Street Energy, and the latter has committed to installing solar panels on current and new buildings that the automaker will add to its headquarters’ campus.
Beyond the construction of the new solar panel installation, the regional Porsche headquarters will showcase additional sustainable design features, including specially formulated concrete that the company says will decrease the amount of embodied carbon; an expansion of water reuse and recycling across the campus, paired with non-irrigated landscaping; and green walls and walking trails that together could boost biodiversity across the campus. New electric vehicle charging infrastructure will also be available for employees and visitors. Porsche expects the campus’ expansion to score gold-level LEED certification.
This isn’t the first time the company has been to the solar power rodeo: For example, an 82-foot photovoltaic pylon at a campus in Berlin included more than 7,700 solar panels, which at its launch several years ago generated 30,000 kilowatt hours (KWh) of clean power.
As far as the electrification of Porsche vehicles goes, the first Porsche-designed electric car dates back to 1898, when Ferdinand Porsche designed the Egger-Lohner C.2 Phaeton a half-century before he founded his namesake company. The automaker started to invest aggressively in electrification technology a decade ago, and recently has started to dabble in electrofuels, a blend of green hydrogen and carbon that could eventually work as a replacement for gasoline and similar liquid fuels.