Flexible packaging giant Sealed Air Corp. expects to save $1 million a year in energy costs with its $9 million investment in a solar farm fueling its Madera, Calif., Bubble Wrap plant.
The farm, with its nearly 9,000 solar panels, is providing 98 percent of the 265,000-square-foot plant's electrical needs, Sealed Air said in an Aug. 23 news release. The panels, along with a 770 kW/3,080 kilowatt-hour battery storage system, are located on 11 acres Sealed Air owns adjacent to the plant.
Sealed Air teamed up with TotalEnergies Distributed Generation USA LLC of Richmond, Calif., to design and install the 3.5-megawatt ground-mount solar project.
Work on the project began in 2020 and installation was completed earlier this year. Sealed Air said in just the first year, the project will help avoid the generation of 4,982 metric tons of carbon dioxide. Over 15 years, that figure will reach more than 72,000 tonnes, which it said is equivalent to the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from more than 15,000 passenger vehicles driven for one year.
The company would not disclose information about the Madera plant's equipment or production volume, but it said it employs 125 and, in addition to Bubble Wrap, makes Korrvu-brand retention and suspension packaging, mailers and other products.
Emile Chammas, Sealed Air's chief operating officer, said the solar farm advances the company's goal of transitioning all operations to net-zero direct and certain indirect GHG emissions by 2040.
"We are on a journey to leave our world better than we find it and the completion of this project is an important milestone in the strategic investments we're making to achieve that goal," he said in the news release.
Direct emissions, known as Scope 1 emissions, are those from sources Sealed Air owns or controls such as chemical processing equipment, boilers, vehicles and furnaces. The indirect emissions Sealed Air has targeted (Scope 2) occur from the generation of electricity the company buys and consumes.
Scope 3 emissions, which are not currently included in Sealed Air's target, comprise all other indirect emissions — those that come from activities like distribution, transportation, business travel, use of products and end-of-life product treatments.
Sealed Air, based in Charlotte, N.C., ranked No. 5 in Plastics News' most recent survey of North American film and sheet makers, with relevant annual sales estimated at $1.65 billion. The company has 12 film plants in North America.
Globally, Sealed Air reported $5.5 billion in 2021 sales, up 13 percent from the year before, and net profit of $491 million, up 1 percent. The company employs about 16,500.