Progressive Paper: GEP Solar Constructs 600-kW Rooftop System for Snyder Paper

Snyder Paper rooftop solar

In a project that employs a range of renewable energy strategies, GEP Solar has constructed a 600-kW system on the rooftop of Snyder Paper Corp. in Hickory, N.C. Commissioned in October 2014, this net-metered system provides power directly to the facility, offsetting 65 percent of its previous energy consumption. The addition of LED lights and high SRI (solar reflectivity index) roofing reduces its energy needs  another 30 percent. In total, this combination solution has reduced Snyder’s monthly  energy bill by approximately 90 percent.

To support the economy in the Carolina region, the project used local partners as much as possible. GEP Solar, of Asheville, N.C., installed the PV system, roofing and LED lighting. Daetwyler Clean Energy, in Huntersville, N.C., provided the racking system, while the Advanced Energy AE 3TL (20-kW) inverters used were manufactured in Greenville, S.C. The project also benefited from the seasoned expertise of Bogart Engineering in Phoenix and features 255-watt premium-grade polycrystalline UpSolar panels.

Near Total Energy Independence
Though solar was the driving force for this project, GEP Solar provided a multi-faceted solution, retrofitting 250,000 sq ft with LED lighting, which alone saved $5,000 per month in energy costs. They also installed white, high-SRI roofing to reduce internal temperatures and air conditioning electricity requirements. With this combination of solutions, today, Snyder Paper Corp. comes closer than any other company in western North Carolina to total energy independence.

progressive-paper-2Engineered to Maximize Energy Harvest
With its AE 3TL inverters installed close to the array, in a neat line against the rooftop firewall, the project is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also minimizes line loss. In addition, the installation’s open-air wiring is arranged in a unique “zig-zag” pattern instead of straight lines, which also decreases line length to reduce loss and maximize net energy production.

Fulfilling Long-standing Solar Aspirations
As its name implies, Snyder Paper Corp. began in the paper industry. However, they now: fabricate high-quality, innovative cushions for the furniture industry; distribute industrial, chemical, packaging and janitorial products to large industrial manufacturers; and distribute packaging and farm supplies to the agricultural markets. With the end of the ITC approaching, the company thought the time was ripe to make their long-standing interest in solar energy a reality to reduce costs and enhance sustainability.

Unique Approach Poised to Proliferate
The Snyder Paper Corp. project was implemented quickly, commencing in July 2014 and commissioned in October. It was also built to last: Both the roof itself and the solar modules feature a 25-year warranty. With fast implementation, significant energy savings and lasting benefits, this approach to energy conservation is poised to appeal to a variety of organizations, for a range of facilities. GEP Solar already has similar projects combining cool roofing, LED lighting and solar energy underway in western North Carolina and as far away as Costa Rica.

J. Jeremiah West is the CEO of GEP Solar.

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