LEESPORT, Pa. – Ashley Furniture, number 1 on the FDMC 300, is almost finished installing a solar energy system at its manufacturing plant in Leesport, Pennsylvania. At 580,000 square feet – or roughly 10 football fields, the system will be one of the largest of its kind in the country.
“The solar panel project we have at Ashley is just one more example of Ashley’s sustainability efforts for our global marketplace and local communities,” said Todd Wanek, President and CEO, of Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc. “Besides reducing our company’s energy footprint, we’re also able to save on energy costs which, in turn, can be passed along to our customers.”
Ashley committed to installing 10 such systems early last year. The Leesport system is one its largest – featuring 28,776 roof-mounted panels and producing more than 9.63 million kWh (kilowatt hours) of electricity per year. That’s roughly equivalent to what’s consumed by 786 average American homes annually. It’s the largest rooftop solar energy system in the state of Pennsylvania.
Solar is expected to offset 90 percent of the facility’s electrical energy needs.
Ashley partnered with SunPeak, a leading developer in the solar industry, to design and install the solar systems.
“The project is noteworthy for its scale,” noted Tim Paap, Professional Engineer and Director of Project Execution for SunPeak. “It can be difficult to comprehend just how large the system is when you talk about megawatts of power. The entire system takes up 580,000 square feet, or over 10 football fields, and produces as much power as two locomotives. And it’s on the roof of a facility that would otherwise be unutilized.”
In addition to the Leesport facility, rooftop solar systems have been constructed and commissioned on two other Ashley distribution and retail centers in Romeoville, Illinois and Lathrop, California. Mobilization has started on the next two facilities in Redlands and Colton, California.
“We need a lot of energy to manufacture our products and it only makes sense to use renewable sources,” said Ron Wanek, Founder and Chairman, Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc. “This is a long-term investment, not only for Ashley, but for our environment. We are taking proactive steps and hope to see others in our industry join us.”
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