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Solar array positions Shea Concrete plant for net zero operation

Source: Shea Concrete Products, Amesbury, Mass.

Shea Concrete Products has powered up a 389-kW array that will provide electricity for its production and offices in Amesbury, Mass. The installed solar system went live August 30 and will produce an estimated 421,000 kilowatt-hours per year. This generates enough electricity to fully run the Amesbury location without requiring any additional sources of electricity.

“Shea Concrete chose solar panels manufactured by SunPower in their Milpitas, Calif., factory,” said Beaumont Solar Co. President and CEO Phil Cavallo, whose company designed, engineered and installed the system. “These panels, which are American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)-compliant, harvest an output that is on average 7 percent better than other panels annually and 20 percent more productive over the 25-year life of the system.”

According to Cavallo, this project results in Shea Concrete being Net Zero electrical energy consumption, meaning that the Amesbury site is completely self-sustaining. This is largely due to the density in terms of watts per square foot generated by the 1,184 solar panels. Over the course of a year, this system can provide the equivalent to the amount of energy needed to power approximately 59 homes.

“Shea Concrete decided to install solar panels in an effort to be an environmentally-friendly company. It was also very important to us to have the panels made in America,” said Shea Concrete Products manager Greg Stratis. Unlike most traditional sources of energy, solar panels do not emit greenhouse gases that harm the environment.

In order to offset the cost of the panels, Shea Concrete can receive state and federal tax credits for energy efficiency. Additionally, the state of Massachusetts offers renewable energy credits known as SRECs, which allow companies or individuals to receive income based on the amount of energy generated by the solar system.