Solar helping to power Solvay’s climate commitments
Solvay in top ten companies in US for solar adoption
In the effort to reach ambitious climate targets, Solvay has significantly ramped up its adoption of renewable energy in sites across the world, and solar power plays a big role. In fact, Solvay’s leadership in solar adoption led to the Group being ranked among the top ten companies operating in the United States with the most solar capacity by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) in its annual Solar Means Business report for the second year in a row!
South Carolina solar project
The top ten ranking is thanks in large part to Solvay’s 15 year agreement with a solar farm owned by Dominion Resources, Inc. in Jasper County, South Carolina.
This 900-acre, 71-megawatt facility has more than 250,000 solar panels that cover an area equivalent to 500 football (soccer) fields and provides enough power for 15,000 households – or 164,000 MWh a year, offsetting approximately 80,000 tons of CO2 emissions. Solvay buys all the renewable energy certificates (RECs) produced by the farm.
The Jasper solar power plant allows us to provide greener power for Solvay’s factories in Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, New Jersey and Louisiana, as all these plants are connected to the Eastern Grid in the US on which the solar farm is generating its power production. With the RECs from the solar plant, the equivalent of 80K tons/year of CO2 emissions are avoided. “The principle of regionality is important,” explains Alain Michel, Solvay’s Head of Climate & Energy Transition. “We are sourcing green electricity in a region where Solvay has a strong industrial footprint as well as key customers.”
Providing customers with products made by renewable energy
Getting involved in this project is also a way to respond to growing customer demand for products manufactured with renewable energy. For instance, as part of Solvay’s commitment to Apple’s Supplier Clean Energy program - which requests suppliers to commit to producing Apple products with 100 percent clean energy - Solvay powers production for Apple in large part from the South Carolina solar farm. We can see more and more customers following this trend and requesting products manufactured from green energy in several markets such as food, health care, automotive, electronics.
The end goal, as confirmed by Solvay’s CEO Ilham Kadri, is “to exclusively use renewable energy for the provision of products to key customers”. The Jasper County solar farm is a big step in that direction.
More to come for Solvay and solar
Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of SEIA said that this year's top ten companies are “walking the walk when it comes to clean energy commitments. Businesses are choosing solar energy because it can significantly curb their energy costs and add predictability during these uncertain times.”
Solvay certainly sees the benefits: 17 solar and other renewable energy projects, both in operation and committed in 2019, have the potential to reduce Solvay’s emissions by 470 kt per year of C02, which is the equivalent of taking 300,000 cars off the road.
Solar panels have been installed at Solvay plants across the world including in Bangpoo, Thailand; Panoli, India; West Deptford, New Jersey; and Linne Herten in the Netherlands to name a few. There are other projects in progress (but not yet in operation) in Changshu and Zhenjiang, China; Clamecy, France; Devnya, Bulgaria and many others. In Deer Park, Vernon and Pasadena, Texas, Solvay has a contract with external developers to supply all the plants in the state from solar production. We are also in talks with another developer in the south of Italy to supply all our Italian plants by 2022.
Below are all the solar projects underway or under progress at Solvay:
“We are honored to be recognized again by SEIA for our commitment to increasing solar power in our operations,” said Ron Johnson, Climate & Energy Transition Manager North America. “Solar power plays a key role in our Solvay One Planet initiative, which aims to reduce our emissions by 26% by 2030. We’ll continue developing solar projects to help enable the energy transition, particularly in the US.”