IDEC, manufacturer of industrial automation and control products, has a corporate mandate to reduce carbon footprint and increase the use of renewable energy sources at its facilities worldwide. To meet this mandate, cut costs and improve the environment, its U.S. headquarters in Silicon Valley uses a combination of roof-mounted solar panels and wind turbines to provide about 50% of its power. Combined with other energy saving measures, such as converting from metal halide to LED lamps in the warehouse and changing to LED external lighting, IDEC is saving more than $100,000 a year on its electric bill.
“We are committed to green energy, with the ultimate goal of getting completely off the grid,” said Lanny Schuberg, the Engineering and Compliance manager at IDEC. “We’re considering additional solar arrays for our parking lot to further increase our solar power generating capacity.”
Before the solar system was installed in 2008, IDEC was using about 1.1 million kWh/year, which is now down to an annual power usage of about 600,000 kWh/year. The wind turbines coupled with a future battery system to store solar and wind power are expected to provide another 100,000 kWh/year in power savings and demand reductions, cutting energy use from 1.1 million kWh/year in 2007 to a projected usage of about 500,000 kWh/year in 2017, which equates to an annual savings of approximately $150,000.
There are six Windspire Series IV 2000 model turbines total, with a combined maximum power output of 8.4 kW. The wind turbines augment the existing solar panels by providing additional power, particularly on cloudy days.
The peak power of the solar system depends upon the month of the year, with September and October being the best months for solar since it is quite sunny but cooler than the summer months, and the panels are more efficient when cool. The solar panels produce dc power which is converted to ac power by inverters with a maximum output of 284.6 kW.
In the next six months, IDEC will install a large storage battery system to capture wind and solar energy and release it into the grid during peak power times. This will help reduce the peak demand charges assessed by PG&E, the local electric utility.