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Sikorsky Flips Switch On Rooftop Solar System

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. has activated the company’s first solar panel array, consisting of 450 panels mounted on the rooftop of a new engineering building at the company’s campus in Stratford, Conn., reports The New Haven Register.

The solar photovoltaic system is expected to generate 106,250 kilowatt-hours of renewable energy annually. The company estimates that the environmental benefits are equal to removing more than 72,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, 53 pounds of nitrogen oxide and 31 pounds of sulfur dioxide from the environment.

Soltage constructed Sikorsky’s Solar PowerStation. The renewable energy company also owns and operates the system and funds all of the capital for the project. Under the agreement, Sikorsky purchases the electricity generated from the system at a negotiated fixed rate. A $253,515 grant from the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund covered about 40 percent of Soltage’s equipment costs.

About five years ago Connecticut had one of the most generous solar incentive programs in the country, which fueled the growth of dozens of solar companies, but state subsidies have run out of funds.

Prior to the solar installation, Sikorsky had reduced energy consumption in its factories and incorporated energy-saving measures into its manufacturing processes. The company also is constructing a co-generation plant on site to power its facility and to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, reports the newspaper.

In other solar news, Air Products will build a 12-acre solar farm at its corporate headquarters in Allentown, Pa. The system will generate 1.5 megawatts of electricity. Construction is expected to start this fall and be online by spring 2011.

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