A new solar installation planned by Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC will lead to the reduction of carbon emissions equivalent to the amount generated by 1,000 cars driving from coast to coast in the United States, or burning through some 122,467 gallons of gasoline.
It’s all part of Bendix’s first-ever solar energy project, a 1.168-megawatt solar array that will be installed at the company’s Huntington, Indiana, campus beginning this month.
Construction of the company’s first solar array will be managed by PSG Energy Group, based in Indianapolis, and the project will result in the largest on-site solar installation in Huntington County.
Expected to be completed in September 2021, the solar array will be located at Huntington Plant 1. When fully operational, the installation will produce 1.5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity – enough to satisfy around 30% of the site’s requirements and deliver an estimated $140,000 in electric utility savings annually. At this level of use, the solar array is also projected to contribute a nearly 19% decrease to the Huntington campus carbon footprint and a 3% decrease to Bendix’s carbon footprint enterprise-wide.
“We’re thrilled to turn the key on this amazing investment in our future for the Huntington campus, for Bendix, and for our parent company, Knorr-Bremse. Investing in solar energy has been a longstanding goal for Bendix, and to have this happen in Huntington – a campus with such a rich history of growth and achievement – is a proud moment for the operation and for the community,” said Maria Gutierrez, Bendix director of corporate responsibility and sustainability. “It’s the right time and place for a project of this size and scale.”
Gutierrez said space availability, budgetary factors, and supply capabilities all played a role in Huntington’s selection for the project.
Supporting an Ambitious Corporate Climate Strategy
The solar project is a key element of the company’s overall climate strategy. Over more than a decade, Bendix has pursued and adopted the environmental strategies of parent company Knorr-Bremse, the global market leader for braking and other systems for rail and commercial vehicles.
Bendix supports the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of 17 overarching objectives providing guidance on how to make business activities compatible with sustainable development. Five key SDGs have been at the core of Bendix’s sustainability efforts, among them Responsible Consumption and Production (encompassed within SDG 12) and Climate Action (the focus of SDG 13).
Together, the organizations stepped up their overall climate plan in 2020, committing to cut CO2 emissions in half by 2030. Knorr-Bremse and Bendix have pursued three avenues to do this: investments in improved energy efficiency, the purchase or installation of renewable energy projects, and the purchase of green energy. In the past two years, Knorr-Bremse has significantly exceeded the climate target of reducing CO2 emissions by 4.2% each year.
Additionally, Knorr-Bremse aims to achieve carbon neutrality by maximizing renewable energy purchase and offsetting starting 2021.
This year, Huntington’s solar project supports the organization’s larger environmental goals in similar ways.
“In 2020, we celebrated significant progress toward our climate goals, as Bendix reduced its energy consumption more than 14 million kilowatt-hours over the last six years and diverted 99.9% of its waste from landfill,” said Bill Schubert, Bendix corporate manager, environmental and sustainability. “This year’s solar project in Huntington supports our larger environmental goals in similar ways. By achieving a nearly 19% reduction in Huntington from the new solar array, we’ll provide a major contribution to Knorr-Bremse’s global commitment on the path to achieving carbon neutrality.”