Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc. says it has committed to a multi-phase effort to reduce the company’s energy footprint. Ashley, the World’s largest furniture manufacturer, has selected ten of its largest U.S. facilities to receive solar installations this year as part of the first phase of the initiative. Construction on the first solar array in Romeoville, Illinois, begins this week.
Ashley has partnered with SunPeak to design and install its solar systems. SunPeak has worked with other large, national brands including Tyson Foods and American Family Insurance.
“We need a lot of energy to manufacture our products and it only makes sense to use renewable sources,” said Ron Wanek, Founder and Chairman, Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc. “This is a long-term investment, not only for Ashley, but for our environment. We are taking proactive steps and hope to see others in our industry join us.”
Across the ten advanced manufacturing and distribution and fulfillment facilities identified, electrical energy consumption exceeds 100 million kWh (kilowatt hours) annually. Phase one of the project will be a $29 million investment for Ashley. By installing solar, the company expects to offset its electrical energy needs by 35% using clean energy from the sun.
Ashley anticipates a cost savings of more than $5 million in the first year, with potential for even greater annual savings as energy prices continue to increase over time.
“Saving on energy costs will allow us to further invest in our employees and facilities, pass cost savings on to our customers, and give back to the community. These solar panels are just one more example of Ashley’s sustainability in the global marketplace and in our local communities,” said Todd Wanek, President and CEO, of Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc.
The Romeoville location, a 454,525-square-foot retail distribution center, will utilize 2,640 roof-mounted solar panels and 10 inverters for a total system capacity of 726 kWdc. The solar energy produced from this site alone will exceed 856,700 kWh per year, which is equal to the amount of power consumed by 72 average American households.
Other Ashley solar project sites include three locations in California as well as Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and Ashley’s advanced manufacturing headquarters in Arcadia, Wisconsin. All projects in this first phase are expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2020.
— Solar Builder magazine