It happened last year: the 1-gigawatt-hour milestone was reached. The ebm-papst subsidiary in the United States installed the first photovoltaic panels on its roof in 2011. “Back then that was something really unusual,” says Scott Beauchemin, Vice President Engineering at ebm-papst Inc. “Solar power systems weren’t nearly as widespread as in Europe, and especially not in our area.” Farmington, Connecticut, is not exactly known for having the most hours of sunlight. But it was time for a major renovation of the company’s premises, and a pioneer project was a perfect fit with its self-image. “Our GreenTech philosophy isn’t just about our products, it’s about how we use energy and resources every day.”
“Our GreenTech philosophy isn’t just about our products, it’s about how we use energy and resources every day.”
Scott Beauchemin, Vice President Engineering at ebm-papst Inc.
The original 50-kilowatt system wasn’t the end of the story. The next 50 followed in 2012, and another 100 kilowatts in 2014. “We were very happy with the performance of the first system,” says Beauchemin. And when the Obama administration granted support for the installation of solar power systems, expansion became more attractive. One neighboring company has meanwhile installed solar panels as well.
Now the company feeds about 250 megawatt-hours per year into the power grid, enough to supply 25,000 homes. “And there’s still quite a bit of space on our roof … ”