October 29, 2010
GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare began installing North America’s largest rooftop solar array yesterday at its Northeast Regional Distribution Center (RDC) in York, Pa.
Nearly 11,000 solar panels will cover an area on the roof which is about the size of seven American football fields. The solar panels will generate enough electricity to meet the annual energy needs of the nearly 500,000 square foot building. That’s equivalent to the power needed each year for almost 400 average sized homes.
Each solar panel weighs about 60 pounds and is more than six feet long and more than three feet wide. The panels are installed in a grid system in sets of three. Nearly 100 workers will spend the next two months hoisting the panels to the roof with a crane, securing them into place and networking them into the power system. American Capital Energy, the company responsible for the project, plans to install about 500 panels per day.
The 3-megawatt system is expected to generate approximately 3.4 million kilowatt hours of energy per year. This will enable the facility to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 3,000 tons annually. It would take nearly 15,000 trees to absorb that much carbon dioxide in a single year. When the project is completed, it will be the first time a GSK facility anywhere in the world will be completely reliant on solar energy.
GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare received government funding and solar incentives to help finance the project. A $1 million grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Commonwealth Financing Authority and $4.1 million in federal tax credits will help pay for the project. GSK will also utilize energy savings and Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SREC) to offset costs.
Four other solar panel projects were recently completed at GSK facilities in Upper Providence and Collegeville, Pa., North Carolina; Belgium and Singapore.
Source : Press Release