NewAge Industries hosted a ribbon-cutting to officially acknowledge the launch of a $4.2 mil. solar power system at its hose and tube manufacturing center in Southampton, Pa. The one-megawatt (MW) solar system is comprised of more than 4,000 solar panels and is capable of providing approximately 50 percent of the annual power required to operate NewAge”s 244,000 sq.ft. facility.
“To see what you’ve done here is quite phenomenal,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, R-8. “You’re demonstrating an example a lot of other manufacturing organizations should take a look at.”
The solar project was financed in part by a $1 million solar energy program grant from Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development. Federal grant dollars of approximately $1.2 million are expected to be received next month. The remaining $2 million to fund the project were provided by NewAge. The system is expected to generate a full return on investment within six years, after which it is expected to generate $300,000 to $400,000 annually worth of Solar Alternative Energy Credit (SAECs) and electricity savings. A solar alternative energy credit represents proof that one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity was generated by a qualifying facility.
“As a responsible manufacturer, we’ve taken a number of green steps over the past several years, but the solar energy project was definitely the most ambitious,” said Ken Baker, NewAge’s CEO. “It’s a great way to use renewable energy, help our community, and contribute to our bottom line.”
The ribbon-cutting ceremony, which was attended by local dignitaries, members of the press, and other invited guests, included a plant tour and a trip to the rooftop to view the solar array up close. A presentation following the tour covered NewAge’s evolution from a small, family-owned distributorship to the manufacturer it is today.
The company, which has been in business since 1954, experienced record growth last year despite the challenging economy, driven largely by demand for its high-purity products sold primarily to the biopharmaceutical industry. As such, the company boosted its staff by 20 percent.
NewAge partnered with Borrego Solar Systems Inc., based in California, for the design and installation of the system. The solar panels were made in the U.S. by SolarWorld USA of Hillsboro, Oregon. The racks that support the panels and the inverters, which convert the electrical current, were also manufactured in the U.S.
“We wanted to work with U.S.-based companies and use U.S.-made parts,” said Baker. “We’re very pleased we were able to do that.”
The project started last summer with upgrades to NewAge Industries’ roof. Solar panels now cover three-quarters of the rooftop on the 244,000 square foot building.
“It’s great to be able to do something so incredibly useful and green with the space on our rooftop,” Baker said. “Saving money on our electric bill is a bonus.”
NewAge Industries, an ESOP (employee stock ownership plan) company, sells its tubing and hose products worldwide to markets such as pharmaceutical, chemical, food and beverage, medical, industrial, appliance, and others. Products sold through its AdvantaPure division target critical application industries, such as biopharm and biomedical.