United States

Boeing Co. to create 10-acre solar farm at new manufacturing campus

Boeing Co. will cover the 10-acre roof on its new 787 assembly plant in North Charleston, SC in the US with more than 18,000 thin film solar panels enough to generate 2.6 MW of electricity to power its manufacturing campus.
Boeing Co. to create 10-acre solar farm at new manufacturing campus

Installation of the panels will begin in May and take about four months to complete. Once it’s operational, it will be the largest solar installation by generating capacity in the Southeast US and the sixth-largest in the nation, the company said.

“This will be a 100 percent renewable energy site and it's the first site we have in the world that is making that commitment,” said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

The aerospace giant unveiled its solar-powered plans this morning at a press conference at the facility, which is directly adjacent Charleston International Airport and where it is currently building a second assembly line for its next-generation 787 Dreamliner passenger jet.

The work on the solar farm is being undertaken in partnership with South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. (SCE&G).

"This was sort of a dream we had, to cover the roof in solar panels and making that dream a reality is something very special," said VP of Boeing South Carolina Marco Cavazzoni.

“It is quite an undertaking,” agreed Bob Long, general manager of resources planning for SCE&G.

Company officials said the remaining power needs for Boeing will be supplied using renewable energy sources such as bio-fuels.

"Boeing has given us a challenge to make them 100 percent green energy powered and we're proud to meet that challenge," said Kevin Marsh, president SCEG.

The project, which will be comprised of solar panels that are 18 feet long by 15.5 inches wide, will cover about the same acreage as eight American football fields. The power the panels will generate an amount of electricity equivalent to that needed to power about 250 homes.

Of course, Boeing is not a novice when it comes to renewable energy. In recent years the Chicago-based company has invested significantly in bio-fuel research that it hopes will result in a new clean-energy aviation fuel.

The company also holds several US patents on solar technology, especially in the realm of solar thermal energy, in which it holds 14 patents and counting.

Among the elected officials on hand for the announcement was US Senator Lindsey Graham, who predicted the scope of the North Charleston project would make a big impression nationwide.

"The fact that Boeing would lead the way is going to make it easier for other businesses in South Carolina and in the county to follow," Graham said.

For additional information:

Boeing Co.

South Carolina Electric & Gas Co.

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