Things are looking a little brighter at GP's Camden, New Jersey, gypsum plaster operation. The plant recently flipped the switch on a set of new solar panels that will enable it to rely less on electricity from the local power grid and more on what Mother Nature provides free of charge.
“The cost of electric power in New Jersey is high, and the state also has incentives for using renewable fuels,” says Donnie Stein, Camden's plant manager. “It made sense for us to try a solar power option.”
The plant installed 1,050 solar panels on a warehouse roof. They are expected to supply approximately 11 percent of the facility's annual electrical energy needs, a savings of about $60,000 per year.
“We're going to track the performance of the solar panels for the next few months,” says Stein. “If they perform as we expect them to, we are looking to potentially put enough solar panels on the property to meet nearly all of the plant's electricity needs.”
The Camden solar panel installation is the first for a GP facility, but it may not be the last. “GP is always looking at energy supply alternatives for our facilities,” says Phil Zirngibl, global category director ‐ energy. “This installation at Camden is an experiment for GP. We can use it to confirm the potential viability for larger solar projects at Camden and other GP locations.”
Zirngibl added, “Energy markets are providing opportunities to lower our energy costs as well as support renewable energy development if it makes economic sense, like it did in Camden.”
So, while New Jersey may not be called the Sunshine State, the sun shines brightly enough to help power the future for GP's Camden plant.