IDEC is a leading manufacturer of innovative industrial automation and control products, and has a corporate mandate to reduce carbon footprint and increase the use of renewable energy sources at its facilities world-wide. In order to meet this mandate, cut costs and improve the environment, the U.S. headquarters in Silicon Valley uses a combination of roof-mounted solar panels and wind turbines to provide about 50% of its power. Due to these and other energy saving measures, such as converting from metal halide to LED lamps in the warehouse and changing to LED external lighting, IDEC is saving more than $ 100,000/year on its electric bill, with more savings to come.
Before the solar system was installed in 2008, IDEC was using about 1.1 million kWh/year. With solar panels, LED lights and other energy-saving measures, annual power usage is down to about 600,000 kWh/year. The wind turbines coupled with a future battery system to store solar and wind power are expected to provide another 100,000 kWh/year in power savings and demand reductions, cutting energy use from 1.1 million kWh/year in 2007 to a projected usage of about 500,000 kWh/year in 2017, which equates to an annual savings of approximately $ 150,000.
The wind turbines are a new addition as they were recently installed in September 2016. IDEC was the first company in the Sunnyvale, CA area to install wind turbines at its facility, and other companies in the area are following suit.
There are six Windspire Series IV 2000 model turbines total, with a combined maximum power output of 8.4 kW. The wind turbines augment the existing solar panels by providing additional power, particularly on cloudy days. In addition, unlike solar panels that depend upon the sun, the wind turbines can operate up to 24 hours a day.
The peak power of the solar system depends upon the month of the year, with September and October being the best months for solar since it is quite sunny but cooler than the summer months, and the panels are more efficient when cool. The solar panels produce dc power which is converted to ac power by inverters with a maximum output of 284.6 kW.
In the next six months, IDEC will install a large storage battery system to capture wind and solar energy and release it into the grid during peak power times. This will help reduce the peak demand charges assessed by PG&E, the local electric utility. It will also benefit the utility and its customers by reducing total peak system demand.
These green power installations not only save money for IDEC, but also reduce the company’s carbon footprint. “We are committed to green energy, with the ultimate goal of getting completely off the grid. We’re considering additional solar arrays for our parking lot to further increase our solar power generating capacity,” says Lanny Schuberg, the Engineering and Compliance manager at IDEC.
IDEC’s efforts put the company at the forefront of the green energy movement in Silicon Valley. Their collaboration with the City of Sunnyvale will not only reduce their carbon footprint, but is also helping to spur other companies in the area to follow along, ultimately benefiting the entire Sunnyvale community and the Silicon Valley area.
News item from IDEC