Largest Solar Array at Cummins Coming On Line in China

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The largest solar array at a Cummins facility is scheduled to be completed in April at the Beijing Foton Cummins Engine Company Ltd. (BFCEC) in China, eliminating an estimated 3,200 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year or about 13 percent of BFCEC’s overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The initiative will also help with China’s national drive to reduce air pollution, cutting back what BFCEC consumes from the grid, which is largely fueled by coal-fired power plants.

“BFCEC leadership is fully committed to improving the environment through the business and within the community,” said Des Conlon, BFCEC plant manager. “Installing solar panels helps combat greenhouse gas emissions and lessens the current air pollution problem.”

The solar panels at BFCEC cover about two thirds of the ISF plant.
Top: The solar panels at BFCEC cover about two thirds of the ISF plant.

Project Leader Bin Tang said the 3,600 kW system installed on the roof of the plant is also expected to reduce BFCEC’s overall power costs by about 3 percent, saving about 800,000 RMB or roughly $121,000 annually.

“This is a great example where using renewable energy really makes sense as part of our overall energy strategy,” said Mark Dhennin, Director of Energy & Environment for Cummins.

“We’re reducing CO2, we’re reducing air pollution by reducing demand for electricity from coal-fired plants and we’re lowering our operating costs,” he added. “We want to use renewable forms of energy like solar energy to help us achieve our overall mission that everything we do leads to a cleaner, healthier, safer environment.”

BFCEC is composed of two twin plants, the ISF and the ISG plants. ISF has been in operation for several years while the ISG opened in 2014 and has been ramping up production through 2015.

Solar panels will cover about two-thirds of the 90,000 square meter (970,000 square foot) ISF plant, which will receive about 4.2 million kWh (kilowatt hour) of power when the solar cells are fully operational. The ISF plant’s overall power consumption was around 19.5 million kWh in 2015, so about 19 percent of the plant’s power will no longer be pulled from the national grid.

The next largest solar installation at Cummins is the 2,000 kW array installed at the Jamestown Engine Plant in Jamestown, New York (USA) in 2015. Eleven Cummins facilities now have solar arrays. The others are located in Australia, Belgium, China, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The facility in Belgium has a maximum output of 562 kW while the others are 50 kW or less. All of the solar initiatives have had some kind of government incentive. The solar array in Beijing is actually owned by an independent third party.

BFCEC’s facilities team has worked hard on the solar project including, left to right, Ping Liu, Zhifeng Qiao, Lihao Zhang, Bin Tang, Shuquan Gao and Naiqing Mao.
BFCEC’s facilities team has worked hard on the solar project including, left to right, Ping Liu, Zhifeng Qiao, Lihao Zhang, Bin Tang, Shuquan Gao and Naiqing Mao.

 

The panels at BFCEC are partially installed but already connected to the facility grid and will power equipment such as the boilers and water pump station for the ISF plant, said Shuquan Gao, the Facility Manager who was instrumental in the contract negotiations to get the solar array installed.

“BFCEC is going to be an important part of our renewable energy strategy,” said Dhennin. “I want to congratulate Des and his team for their great work on this initiative.”

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