19/10/2012

Gerresheimer banks on photovoltaics in Vineland, NJ

Being the leading global partner for the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, Gerresheimer is committed to sustainability and environmental protection. In order to meet its environmental and sustainability objectives the company is putting one of the biggest photovoltaic systems in the United States into operation to enable the production of pharmaceutical glass with environmental-friendly energy.

“Sustainability is one of our company’s priority objectives. Photovoltaics provide us with the perfect means of combining eco friendliness with economic efficiency”, said Dave Watson, Vice President Finance & Controlling at Gerresheimer and the person in charge of the whole project. Dave is also responsible for energy costs at all of the company’s US production facilities.

It took only nine months to install the whole photovoltaic system, which is about 52,624 sq. yd. (44,000 sq. m.) in size and located on the roof of the tubular glass plant in Vineland. It covers an area around ten times the size of a football field. The 2.8 megawatt DC system consists of 10,900 mainly mono-crystalline solar panels and is one of the ten biggest roof-mounted PV systems operated in the US. The usage of solar power can reduce the Gerresheimer facility’s annual carbon footprint by 1,350 tons. That’s equal to the reduction that could be achieved if all 500 employees at the Gerresheimer plants in Vineland and Forest Grove stopped using their cars.

The plant generates up to 3.65 million kilowatt-hours annually of AC for the production of tubular glass. It covers over 33% of the plant’s electricity requirements in peak load periods.

KDC Solar LLC, headquarterd in Bedminster, New Jersey owns the PV system and is responsible for building and operating the PV system and will supply Gerresheimer with 100 percent of the generated power for the next 15 years.

With clearly defined objectives, the entire Gerresheimer Group is taking part in one of the world’s biggest environmental initiatives, the Carbon Disclosure Project. This non-profit organization was founded in London, UK. It checks and monitors greenhouse emissions of companies on a worldwide basis and also identifies the strategies companies implement in response to climate change.