by Brianna Crandall — May 3, 2019 — Ashley Furniture Industries, a US-based furniture manufacturer with sales throughout the world, has committed to a multi-phase effort to reduce the company’s energy footprint. Ashley selected 10 of its largest US 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.
Across the 10 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.
Ron Wanek, founder and chairman, Ashley Furniture Industries, remarked:
We need a lot of energy to manufacture our products, and it only makes sense to use renewable sources. 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.
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.
Todd Wanek, president and CEO, Ashley Furniture Industries, pointed out:
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.
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.
Ashley has partnered with SunPeak, a full-service solar photovoltaic developer specializing in commercial and industrial applications, to design and install its solar systems.
Based in Madison, Wisconsin, SunPeak works across the nation helping businesses, health-care facilities, municipalities and educational institutions reduce their electrical costs and enhance their sustainability efforts using solar energy. SunPeak uses a value-added, comprehensive approach with its customers, partnering with them from the earliest stages to educate, assess, design, construct and ultimately maintain a solar installation through the expected 30-year life of the system.
By using only top-quality components and talent and managing every aspect of the process, SunPeak claims a high level of trust among its customers. SunPeak has reportedly worked with other large national brands including Tyson Foods and American Family Insurance.
Todd Wanek noted:
We did our due diligence when selecting a solar provider. We interviewed dozens of companies nationally and felt strongly that SunPeak was best suited to perform the scope of this work, to our quality standards, in a timely manner. An unexpected benefit was being able to partner with another Wisconsin-based company to create greater economic impact in the state where it all started.
Chad Sorenson, president, SunPeak, stated:
We are extremely proud to partner with Ashley. The impact of this project portfolio is significant. For each location identified, we have designed an extremely efficient roof-mounted solar system. In total, these systems will generate more than 1 trillion kilowatt hours of clean energy over the next 30 years. That’s enough energy to power 3,000 homes for the next three decades.”
Ashley’s solar energy initiative will complement its world-class advanced manufacturing facilities. Throughout the company’s advanced manufacturing and warehousing operations, solar energy will be utilized to charge Internet of Things (IoT) systems, automation and robotics, and battery-powered industrial vehicles.
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.
For more information about SunPeak solar technology and services, visit the company’s website.