The SmartFlower solar arrays resemble sunflowers in that they are programed to follow the sun by day and close their petals at night.
U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito visited the Toyota West Virginia manufacturing plant in Buffalo on Wednesday, February 22, to inspect the new “garden” near the main entrance and receive an update on Toyota’s renewable energy capabilities, overall operations, and the plant’s 4T High School Work Program.
The new garden consists of five SmartFlower solar arrays that help power the facility’s employee services buildings. The solar flowers also help power three EV charging stations. Much like a sunflower, SmartFlowers bloom at sunrise and follow the sun’s path throughout the day, allowing them to effectively capture the sun’s rays. Because they maintain a 90-degree angle to the sun, the power they produce is optimized over that of traditional solar panels. At sunset, the flowers fold back up and await sunrise the following morning. The petals are self-cleaning, lined with tiny brushes that remove dirt and debris when they open and close.
Located just behind the plant, is the largest solar array in West Virginia. This array can generate 2.6 megawatts of power, enough to power over 400 homes. This solar power generation reduces the Buffalo plant’s CO2 emissions by an estimated 4 million pounds per year.
“Toyota has been a force in West Virginia, and operations in Buffalo are a source of pride for this community and our entire state. I value the close relationship that we have maintained with leaders at Toyota over the years, and the progress they continue to make here in Putnam County. From increased renewable energy capabilities, efficient operations, and their growing high school work program, I am continually impressed by their work. I look forward to continuing to work with Toyota and leaders in the area towards our shared goal of increasing opportunities and available resources for West Virginians in the region,” Senator Capito said.
“We were delighted to welcome Senator Capito back to Toyota West Virginia,” David Rosier, President of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, West Virginia, said. “We are proud to be a part of West Virginia’s business community. We are committed to the Mountain State’s continued growth and success. It was an honor to share just a few of the exciting initiatives we are working on at the plant and we certainly hope Senator Capito visits again soon.”
Later, Senator Capito traveled to Gritts Farms where she received an update on operations and viewed the farm’s newest additions. Capito also visited Belknap Dough Company in Hurricane, where she had a working lunch with local leaders regarding recent successes and future development efforts in Putnam County.