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Holcim's Portland cement plant turns to sun for energy; the first to use solar panels

Feb, 01 2010

(USA)  --  Holcim's Portland cement plant has earned the distinction of being the first in the United States to use solar panels to help provide power to the plant.

The company took a year and a half to plan and install the solar panels. These will provide power to a substation at the plant. The plant will consume all the energy the panels can produce.

A total of 528 solar panels produce an estimated 156,201 kilowatts of power each hour.

John Todd, Holcim general manager said, "For us, this is a great moment that shows our dedication to renewable energy”. 

The use of solar panels will benefit the environment as it prevents an estimated 301,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

Dan Smith of Black Hills Energy said Holcim is the first among the utility company's industrial customers to install solar panels.  There are nearly 300 solar systems in the area helping Black Hills Energy supply power.

"Holcim is our biggest customer. They consume 10 percent of the total electrical load," Smith said.

Besides the use of solar panels, Holcim also uses alterative fuels such as car tires to help heat the plant's kilns as a means to avoid adding to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.

"Sustainable development is important for the environment and we need to look at ways to face the energy price increase. It is a challenge because it is going to be difficult," Todd said.

By: Rashmi Kalia (ARI-C NEWS)

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