An audio-headset factory in Tijuana, Mexico, is now home to the largest, privately owned roof-mounted solar installation in all of Latin America. The 1.16-MW system features solar panels, racking and system engineering from SolarWorld, the largest solar manufacturer in the Americas for nearly 40 years.
The system will power the Mexico operations of Plantronics, a global producer of audio communications headphones. The project is the second of SolarWorld solar panels at a Plantronics facility. In 2011, the headset manufacturer installed 608 kilowatts of roof-mounted and carport-mounted solar arrays at its headquarters in Santa Cruz, Calif.
“Being responsible with the environment is not a luxury, it is a commitment,” said César López, director of government relations for Plantronics Tijuana. “As part of that commitment, it was important to us to select SolarWorld solar panels and racking, which are manufactured in North America according to the highest standards of quality, safety and sustainability.”
Developed and installed by 3Tek Solar, a solar integrator based in Tijuana, the system is composed of 4,284 high-performance SolarWorld solar panels. About 1.14 Mw of those panels are mounted on the factory’s industrial metal-seam roof using SolarWorld’s Sunfix Plus racking product. An additional 20 kilowatts are installed atop a covered walkway at the factory’s entrance. The system also features SMA Sunny Central inverters.
The installation is expected to produce 1.9 gigawatt hours of renewable energy each year. The power output will offset about 70 percent of Plamex’s energy needs at the Tijuana plant and save nearly 3 million pounds of carbon dioxide.
“Industrial building design is all about maximizing long-term operations by reducing energy costs and managing natural resources,” said Hector Montoya, director of 3Tek Solar. “3Tek Solar has supplied Plantronics with design-build services for the past 15 years. We are grateful to Plantronics for trusting 3Tek Solar to successfully deliver a project of this magnitude – the largest of its kind in Mexico – on schedule and within budget.”
SolarWorld has supplied solar panels, mounting solutions and complete solar systems for both on- and off-grid applications to customers in Latin America since the late 1970s. Through its Solar2World program, which supports community rural-electrification projects in developing economies, SolarWorld also has donated panels to power hospitals, medical clinics and water-treatment facilities in Haiti, Peru, Mexico and Honduras.
“As a company with business ties to Latin America dating back more than 30 years, SolarWorld has long understood that solar power is an essential part of the region’s energy mix,” said Mukesh Dulani, U.S. president of SolarWorld. “We’re pleased to team with longtime partners, like 3Tek SOLAR and Plantronics, to expand the reach and profile of solar energy in Mexico’s fast-emerging market.”
— Solar Builder magazine