Rosemont, Ill. — Canadian rotational molder Flexahopper Plastics Ltd. has installed 508 solar panels on the roof of its at its factory in Lethbridge, Alberta. That's enough to generate 25 percent of its total power needs, Bill Spenceley, owner and president, said at the Rotoplas conference.
"It went on stream just last week," he said in a Sept. 28 interview at Rotoplas in Rosemont. The event is sponsored by the Association of Rotational Molders.
The solar array should produce about 230 megawatt hours of power a year, which is enough to power about 100 homes.
Spenceley said the project should pay for itself in seven-and-a-half to nine years, based on today's electric rates. That made investing in solar an easy decision, he said.
"Our controller, he's looking at it and he says our financing payments are going to be the same as our savings in our electric bill. So it's cash neutral," Spenceley said. "It's a no-brainer. So we just said, just do it."
The solar panels are on the roof of a 48,000-square-foot addition that Flexahopper built in 2004. The original factory building was 23,000 square feet. Spenceley said company officials designed the roof to be able to support solar panels, in case they wanted to go solar in the future.
"So when we had to do the engineering approval, the engineers looked at our roof loading and he said, 'OK ready to go, '" he said.