Toray Resin Co. is operating a solar power unit at its plant in Shelbyville, Ind., through a partnership with Duke Energy.
The unit can generate up to 900 kilowatts of electricity to help power the plant while offsetting carbon emissions. The solar project is the first for a Duke Energy pilot program that aims to make it easier for businesses, schools and nonprofits to use clean, renewable energy sources into their energy mix, officials said in a news release.
"This unique leasing arrangement will help power the company's manufacturing operations in a sustainable and cost-effective way, while also demonstrating how our neighbors, businesses and communities can come together to make meaningful progress toward a cleaner energy future," Duke Energy Indiana President Stan Pinegar said.
Under the program, Duke Energy will own, operate and maintain the facility for a monthly service fee. The program provides Toray with clean energy while minimizing upfront costs and maintenance obligations.
Toray makes compounds based on nylon, PBT and other engineering resins in Shelbyville. Toray Resin President Dennis Godwin said that Toray and its parent firm, Toray Industries of Tokyo, "intend to be a leader in the future use of renewable energy by jointly developing affordable, reliable and cleaner energy."
"This joint agreement with Duke Energy Indiana further advances Toray's commitment to reduce our carbon footprint by investing in renewable power solutions like solar," he added.
Construction on the 8-acre, ground-mounted solar project began in October 2021 and was completed in late August. The facility consists of almost 2,500 solar panels that are each 6 feet tall, 3.5 feet wide, and 1.5 inches thick.
Under Duke Energy's solar services pilot program, eligible Indiana customers can lease an on-site solar system for a period of up to 20 years. Duke Energy installs, operates, owns and maintains the system, while customers receive all of the kilowatt-hour and solar renewable energy credit output.
Toray Industries also operates Toray Plastics America, which makes films for flexible and rigid packaging and foams for the automotive and flooring markets. In 2020, the unit opened a new film plant in North Kingston, R.I. With estimated sales of $405 million, Toray Plastics ranks 22nd among North American sheet and film extruders, according to Plastics News data.
Duke Energy Indiana is a unit of unit Duke Energy, the Charlotte, N.C.-based firm that ranks as one of the largest providers of electricity and natural gas in the U.S. Duke has begun a clean energy transition to achieve net-zero methane emissions from its natural gas business and at least a 50 percent carbon reduction from electric generation by 2030.