How Going Green Helps OPEX®, Their Customers, and the Planet
OPEX Corporation achieves net-zero grid usage and powers employees’ cars by utilizing solar.
“We work diligently to reduce energy consumption and integrate sustainable procedures in our products, processes and facilities. Not only are our production and administrative facilities operating with net-zero energy from the grid, but our full line of automated material handling systems is now being manufactured using 100% solar. I even charge my car at our employee charging station”
– James Liebler, vice president of corporate and legal affairs at OPEX
BACKGROUND:One equipment manufacturer that has made the move to renewable energy is OPEX® Corporation. The maker of high-speed mail handling, document management and warehouse automation systems installed a 2.4 MW solar power system capable of producing more than 100% of the electricity needed to operate its 250,000 square-foot manufacturing, distribution and administrative complex located in Moorestown, N.J. OPEX is now a net-zero user of electricity.
Going into the project, OPEX’s traditional grid energy consumption for the Moorestown complex was 2.589 GWh of electricity per year. OPEX desired a solar energy capability that would cover 100% of the energy load. To meet these specifications, OPEX installed a 2.4 MW solar power installation consisting of 8,372 250-W solar panels at their Moorestown campus covering the roofs of two buildings, two parking pavilions, and a three-acre ground-mount solar field array, for a total output of 2.772 GWh of electricity per year.
THE CHALLENGE:Before switching its facilities to solar energy, OPEX had undertaken a number of initiatives to reduce its energy consumption and embrace sustainability. With measurable success in reducing its energy demand, by late 2009, OPEX began exploring solar energy as an option to further decrease its energy draw while expanding its sustainability influence. The company conducted a systematic analysis of the cost interdependencies and optimized energy benefits of converting to solar, taking into account the long-term business and sustainability goals of the company.
THE SOLUTION:The solar energy produced is used directly in the company’s manufacturing and distribution operations and administrative offices. When energy consumption exceeds that of the solar installation’s production, the company supplements by drawing energy from the grid. Conversely, when the solar panels are producing more energy than what is needed for the operation of the facilities, the surplus energy is put back into the grid. OPEX also benefits from substantial solar renewable energy credits (SRECs), an added benefit of the solar system design.
Completed in April 2012, the OPEX solar energy project was designed for an operational 25-year lifespan.
"We were spending a lot of money on electricity and were constantly battling to reduce those costs. We had installed energy-efficient fluorescent lighting throughout our entire 250,000 square-foot manufacturing and warehouse/distribution areas and in our administrative offices and added motion-sensitive lighting in other areas. We also installed a computer-based programmable system for our 100-plus HVAC rooftop units to run on a more energy-efficient user-occupied basis. These changes produced significant savings."
– Dave Andrews, OPEX facilities manager
Download the Case Study