Fast cars and (energy) freedom: Porsche goes microgrid

Aug. 17, 2022
Porsche Cars North America is investing $50 million dollars in a renovation project that includes a solar microgrid and an expansion of the Porsche Experience Center Atlanta, a unique venue that allows the public to let their inner Formula E driver loose on the track in a Taycan, Porsche’s first all-electric sports car.

Porsche Cars North America (PCNA) is investing $50 million in a renovation project that includes a solar microgrid and an expansion of the Porsche Experience Center Atlanta, a unique venue that allows you to let your inner Formula E driver loose on a driver development track in a Taycan, Porsche’s first all-electric sports car.

The company has hired Cherry Street Energy, a large Georgia-based solar provider, to build and operate its new solar microgrid. Construction is scheduled to begin in September and is expected to be complete by early 2023. Porsche and Cherry Street Energy have signed a 25-year operating agreement for the solar microgrid, according to a statement.

The company expects the solar power microgrid will “provide a significant portion of annual electricity needs” for its Atlanta, Georgia, headquarters campus and experience center, according to a recent announcement from the company.

Porsche said the solar panels will be sited on buildings across its campus and on a new covered walkway that will connect the facility’s parking garage and headquarters building. The system will generate 2,050 MWh of electricity per year, which the company said will reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by an estimated 3.2 million pounds per year.

“This solar project contributes to the overall sustainability targets of Porsche AG. In 2030, Porsche aims to be CO₂ net neutral across the entire value chain and life cycle of newly sold vehicles,” said Kjell Gruner, president and CEO.

The microgrid will largely power PCNA’s headquarters and the Porsche Experience Center Atlanta, which features Porsche-themed shopping, fine dining, a driving simulator and a test track where drivers can hone their driving skills in one of the iconic brand’s luxury sports cars. One of 10 track-themed attractions the luxury sports car brand operates around the world, the Porsche Experience Center Atlanta boasts a fleet of Porsche Taycan electric vehicles (EVs), which will be charged by the solar microgrid.

The $50 million development project also includes a Porsche Classic Factory Restoration facility, a parking deck, a Porsche service center, a second driver development track for the experience center, which first opened in 2015, and a new EV charging infrastructure.

In addition to the solar microgrid, Porsche will take other steps to reduce emissions and improve the sustainability of the campus including the use of lower carbon concrete and native nonirrigated landscape solutions, green walls and walking trails to increase biodiversity.

A growing number of companies and organizations are turning to solar microgrids to reduce their carbon emissions and energy costs while also improving their resilience. Cuyahoga County, Ohio, recently issued a request for information (RFI) to build multiple microgrids with solar components, while the Kern High School District in Lake Isabella, California, is looking to add a microgrid to its existing solar system.

With the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, it’s expected that more organizations will be looking to take advantage of new microgrid and solar energy incentives.

Porsche’s Gruner said that “powering our North American home and our Taycan fleet through harnessing Georgia sunshine makes perfect sense and is a great demonstration of our commitment to sustainability.”

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About the Author

Kathy Hitchens | Special Projects Editor

I work as a writer and special projects editor for Microgrid Knowledge. If you’re presenting at a Microgrid Knowledge conference, you can expect to hear from me at some point! I have over 25 years of writing experience, working with a variety of companies in the entertainment, education, and financial industries. For the past five years, I’ve focused exclusively on recreational vehicles, electric vehicles, and the renewable energy industry, where I’ve written about utilities, solar, and wind energy companies (I like to keep things diverse!). I have a BFA in Media Arts from the University of Arizona and a MBA from the University of Denver.

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