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PowerLight Corp. and Think Energy partner with Toyota to install 501-kW solar rooftop electric system

Sept. 17, 2002 — PowerLight Corp. will soon install what it says will be the largest commercial solar rooftop electric system in North America at Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. headquarters in Torrance, Calif.

The 501 kilowatt solar system, which can generate enough electricity in the daytime to power more than 500 homes, will be installed in the Fall of 2002 at Toyota’s South Campus expansion project.

Toyota is a provider of advanced technology transportation options such as electric, gas-electric hybrid (currently holds 90% of the market) and fuel cell hybrid vehicles. “Environmental stewardship and energy improvements are at the heart of Toyota’s operation,” said Sanford Smith, TMS Corporate Manager of Real Estate and Facilities.

“Generation of solar electricity is very consistent with Toyota’s commitment to continuously improving every aspect of our company’s operations. This solar electric system supports Toyota’s top initiative regarding the environment and demonstrates our commitment to the environment.”

By investing in onsite solar generation, Toyota will be able to integrate solar electricity into its energy mix, lower its operating costs, as well as reduce its purchase of expensive peak electricity. In addition, this reduces the overall load on the utility grid during peak usage hours – those times when electricity prices are highest, and the grid is most vulnerable to blackouts.

“We are extremely pleased to see Toyota join the growing roster of leading companies that are realizing the benefits of deploying clean, reliable and cost-effective solar power,” said PowerLight President Daniel Shugar. “Toyota has long been a pioneer in environmentally responsible business practices. With this solar installation, Toyota is further distinguishing itself as a leader – deploying technology innovations that are critical to achieving a sustainable energy future.”

Think Energy, Inc. of Maryland brought Toyota and PowerLight together to initiate this groundbreaking project. When Toyota expressed an interest in renewable energy, Think Energy helped them identify their needs, explore the market and develop a solution with PowerLight. “Toyota had the desire to use clean, solar energy, and PowerLight had the capability to deliver it,” explained Mark Crowdis, president of Think Energy. “This collaboration shows that onsite solar electric generation provides an energy source that is both economical and environmentally responsible.”

Solar electric systems, such as this one commissioned by Toyota, spare the environment from thousands of tons of emissions, such as nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide, which are major contributors to smog, acid rain and global warming. It is estimated that over the 25-year lifetime of Toyota’s new solar electric system, the solar generated electricity will reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides by 10,250 lbs. and carbon dioxide by 12,300 tons. These emissions reductions are equivalent to planting 853,000 trees or not driving 54,000,000 miles.

The PowerLight solar system covers 52,000 square feet of Toyota’s South Campus expansion, and features 3,300 solar electric tiles. PowerLight’s PowerGuard roof system was selected as the best solar electric technology application for Toyota Motor Sales’ expansive flat roof space; it’s a patented, lightweight photovoltaic roofing assembly that delivers clean solar electricity to the building while protecting the roof from damaging effects of weather and UV radiation. Additionally, the tiles provide added thermal insulation benefits to the building.

Toyota’s two-building, five-pod South Campus expansion is on track to receive a silver certificate for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the U.S. Green Building Council. In addition to deploying on-site green power generation, the buildings and construction methods will demonstrate advanced environmental planning, such as:

— Designing building “envelopes” to exceed state energy efficiency mandates by 20 percent
— Recycling more than 90 percent of the waste generated by demolition and construction
— Specifying wood from certified sustainable forests for construction and interior finishes
— Using steel from recycled automobiles to cast the buildings’ structural beams and columns
— Including an “alternative energy yard” in the site plan

About PowerLight

Founded in 1991, PowerLight’s distributed generation products produce reliable, affordable clean power for commercial and government customers worldwide.

Inc Magazine has ranked the PowerLight Corporation among the top 500 fastest growing privately held companies in 2000 and 2001. Recently, PowerLight has worldwide offices and a full line of commercial solar electric products. (www.powerlight.com)

About Toyota Motor Sales

Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. is the sales, marketing, distribution and customer service arm of Toyota and Lexus in the U.S., marketing products and services through 1,392 dealers in 49 states. Established in 1957, TMS and its subsidiaries also are involved in distribution logistics, motor sports, R&D and general aviation. (www.toyota.com)

About Think Energy

Think Energy, Inc. is a consulting firm committed to environmental excellence in the energy sector. They enable clients to access the financial, environmental and energy security benefits of renewable and distributed energy systems and products. (www.thinkenergy.net)

SOURCE: PowerLight and Toyota