Solar power isn't just for hippies or loners who want to "live off the grid" anymore.
If you haven't noticed, major manufacturers have been adding solar power to their operations lately. Lego A/S says its new Virginia injection molding plant will solely rely on solar power. Sealed Air Corp. is investing $9 million to convert a California Bubble Wrap plant to solar. Thermoformer C+K Plastics Inc. is adding solar in North Carolina.
And it's not just processors either. On Sept. 2, Toray Resin Co. said it is working with Duke Energy to use solar power for its compounding plant in Indiana.
Add to that the launch of an electric-power cracking plant in Germany in a pilot project backed by BASF, Sabic and Linde. While the partners have not said what will be used to power that electric cracking plant, they did note it will give them options of a more sustainable energy source than natural gas.
Obviously a lot of those decisions are good PR for participating companies who can then boast of their reduced carbon footprint, but there are other incentives. European leaders are working to reduce their reliance on natural gas from Russia, due to the war in Ukraine and the potential Russia could further extend a shutdown of a key pipeline to Europe.
In the U.S., meanwhile, the recently approved Inflation Reduction Act provides tax incentives for renewable energy investments, a move that prompted solar panel maker First Solar to announce a $1.2 billion investment in additional capacity.