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Renewable Energy Powers Benjamin Moore, Estee Lauder, Verso Facilities

What do manufacturers of skincare products and makeup, paint and coatings, and paper products have in common? They are all using renewable energy to meet a portion of their electricity needs.

Benjamin Moore nearly has completed the installation of a solar power system that is expected to generate 68 percent of the electricity needs for the company’s 80,000-sq.-ft. product development center and testing laboratories in Flanders, New Jersey.

The solar system is comprised of 8,600 crystalline photovoltaic solar panels, making it one of the largest on-site solar power systems in the state, according to the company. The system is expected to begin producing electricity by the end of 2010.

Benjamin Moore & Co. teamed with the retail division of Constellation Energy to develop the 1.7-megawatt system. Under a 20-year solar power purchase agreement, Benjamin Moore is providing the land and will purchase all of the electricity generated from the solar panels. Constellation Energy will build, own and maintain the system.

The long-term solar power purchase agreement structure enables Benjamin Moore to power its facility with renewable energy with no upfront capital expenditure. Depending on conditions, the system is expected to produce nearly 2,230,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year.

The system design was adjusted to shift more than 1,500 photovoltaic panels from an open field on the property to a newly installed roof structure over the facility’s existing parking lot. This preserves more open space on Benjamin Moore’s land while providing shade for parked vehicles. The parking structure will also include recharging stations for electric vehicles.

The new system is expected to avoid more than 1,600 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

Benjamin Moore and Constellation Energy are also looking at other new energy conservation measures at the Flanders site to further reduce the facility’s overall electricity use so that it can rely almost exclusively on the power generated by the solar array.

Estee Lauder Companies has completed the installation of a 103-kilowatt (kW) solar energy system at its Automated Storage Facility in Long Island, New York.

The solar energy system, installed by Mercury Solar Systems, consists of 385 solar panels and is expected to generate more than 120,000 kilowatt-hours annually.

In 2007, Estee Lauder installed a 600-kilowatt solar energy system at its manufacturing facility in Oakland, New Jersey.

Verso Paper announced the launch of a $40 million renewable energy project at its Bucksport, Maine mill. This project will provide a 43 percent increase in thermal energy production from renewable biomass at the Bucksport Mill and will generate additional green power equivalent to the amount needed to supply electricity to 30,000 Maine households.

The Bucksport Renewable Energy Project is scheduled to begin construction before the end of the year.

Verso is a member of the Save Energy Now Leader Program in which participants voluntarily pledge to reduce their industrial energy efficiency 25 percent over the coming decade.

The Bucksport Mill will achieve these energy-efficiency improvements by replacing coal with biomass in the #8 Boiler and installing a new 25-megawatt turbine generator.

Funding for the Bucksport Renewable Energy Project includes a grant from Efficiency Maine, which is an independent trust that invests in cost-effective energy efficiency or alternative energy projects to reduce energy costs and improve Maine’s business environment.

Verso also was one of more than sixty corporations that began measuring the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of their products and supply chains in January by testing a new global framework that is part of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Initiative.

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