Schneider Electric helps Sun Chemical utilise solar to drive energy savings

By Catherine Sturman
Schneider Electric has announced the signing of a solar power purchase agreement (PPA) that will allow Sun Chemical to cut electricity costs at its Carl...

Schneider Electric has announced the signing of a solar power purchase agreement (PPA) that will allow Sun Chemical to cut electricity costs at its Carlstadt, N.J., production facility by roughly $400,000, building on a partnership that has helped the world’s leading producer of inks, pigments and pressroom materials trim millions in energy expenses.

Rooftop and carport photovoltaic (PV) arrays at the site will generate more than 30 percent of the energy needed to power the facility. Under the 20-year PPA, which Schneider Electric helped structure and broker, solar developer Onyx Renewables will design, install, own and operate the arrays, selling the electricity the technology produces to Sun Chemical at a cost below current utility rates.

“At Sun Chemical, we’ve challenged ourselves to look for ways we can improve our processes at individual sites by monitoring key metrics to understand and manage our environmental impact,” said Gary Andrzejewski, Corporate Vice President of Environmental Affairs at Sun Chemical.

“Our decision to build PV arrays at our Carlstadt facility is the latest example of how our own facility managers have been challenging themselves with regard to eco-efficiency,” Andrzejewski said. “We’re excited about working with Schneider Electric on this project and we’re pleased with how they have helped us develop a progressive approach to energy management — one that makes us a more sustainable and profitable business.”

Sun Chemical’s sustainability policy requires a data-driven approach to identify targets for efficiency and environmental improvements. Using this model, Sun Chemical turned to Schneider Electric for options to cut consumption costs at its Carlstadt facility. Schneider Electric then completed a comprehensive bid analysis for an onsite PPA, helped negotiate the contract and assisted in securing credit support.

The end result is a solar installation that will produce around 1.1 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, enough energy to power more than 90 homes.

“While utility bills continue to be one of the largest line items on any facility’s balance sheet, it’s critical that organizations consider every possible avenue to reduce energy consumption and offset demand,” said Steve Wilhite, Senior Vice President of Energy and Sustainability Services at Schneider Electric. “By looking at all aspects of energy — from how it’s purchased and used, to where it’s generated — we help clients identify new opportunities to optimize resources and continue driving innovation at every level of the organization.”

The project marks an expansion of a long-term collaboration dating back to 2004, in which Schneider Electric provides sustainability consulting and energy procurement services to more than 40 Sun Chemical sites across the U.S. and Canada. Through commodity risk management, market analysis, utility bill management and strategic energy sourcing, Schneider Electric has helped Sun Chemical save more than $12 million in energy costs over the course of the relationship.

Engineering at the Carlstadt site is underway, and construction is expected to be complete by fall 2017.

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