Mazda North America’s Research & Development facility in Irvine, Calif., is now powered by solar energy.

Mitsubishi Electric photovoltaic (PV) modules are now powering Mazda’s automotive research and development facility.

Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc. said it supplied Mazda with 1222 PV modules for a 317 kilowatt solar electric system that is expected to deliver half of the facility’s power needs.

Solar installation firm, Sun Integration, of Sherman Oaks, Calif., installed Mazda’s PV system, which also includes a Solectria Renewables inverter and Orion Solar Racking.

Mitsubishi Electric estimates the PV system will supply more than 489,684 kilowatt-hour annually; with the clean energy produced over the system’s expected lifespan of 25 years will prevent an estimated 18.6 million pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. This is equivalent to the emissions resulting from burning 19,625 barrels of oil, added Mitsubishi Electric.

The project was financed in part by the federal business energy investment tax credit and the California Solar Initiative rebate.

“Diversifying our energy sources and using them efficiently is part of Mazda’s environmental charter to maintain harmony with nature in our business activities worldwide,” said Jim O’Sullivan, president and CEO for Mazda North American Operations. “In addition, as a result of powering this building with solar, we can direct our utility bill savings toward further investment in automotive research and development.”

Mazda declared its investment in renewable energy for its facilities complements the company’s core environmental initiative: using existing technology to maximize driving efficiency while keeping this technology affordable for everyone. Mazda has managed to improve fuel mileage in every vehicle equipped with its SKYACTIV Technology, including the 2014 Mazda3, 2014 Mazda6 and the first vehicle to debut with the full-suite of SKYACTIV, the CX-5 CUV.

“Mitsubishi Electric prizes our long-standing relationship with Mazda, a valued customer worldwide,” said Katsuya Takamiya, president and CEO of Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc. “We’re pleased to help strengthen the performance of Mazda’s North American Operations by supplying our solar modules, which represent the top quality Mazda has come to expect from Mitsubishi Electric.”