Service Thread Commits to Green with Solar Power Rooftop Provides Space to Create Power for Others
LAURINBURG, NC (22 JUNE, 2011) -- Service Thread is going green in a major way, lighting the way with its own solar-generated power. The Laurinburg-based company has installed a solar energy system on its roof that is paying dividends in the company’s quest to operate as a green manufacturing operation as well as serving to cut operating costs. Additionally, Service Thread is hosting a 250kW Solar system, the largest in the region that will provide power to others.
“We looked at developing a solar energy generation system on our 108,000 square foot distribution center building as a way to reduce our power costs. With the abundance of good North Carolina sunshine, we knew this was a natural place to operate a solar system,” said Jay Todd, Service Thread’s chief operating officer.
Service Thread’s initial solar investment generates 10 kilowatts of power. “While investing in a solar system has some significant initial costs, tax credits, immediate reduction in power costs, and a relatively short payback period (three years in this case), made our decision to develop the project an easy one.”
But Todd and his team did not stop there.
“A third party investor came to us with a proposal to host an additional solar panel installation on our roof. After internal discussion and engineering review, we decided to accept the proposal to host a new 250 kilowatt solar energy system, one of the largest privately owned systems in North Carolina.”
Argand Energy Solutions, a leading provider of solar electric systems for commercial applications managed the technical engineering and construction of the project.
“We are proud to be leasing the Service Thread rooftop for a large solar installation in Laurinburg,” said Erik Lensch, president of Argand Energy Solutions. “Service Thread has shown a strong commitment toward energy security and environmental stewardship by installing their own solar system and by using the lease revenue they receive from the Argand solar system to help them make additional investments in solar and energy efficiency.”
As the companies were going through the discussions on hosting this new project, Service Thread decided to increase its own solar energy capabilities, by installing an additional 11 kilowatt project, bringing the total power generating potential to 21 kilowatts. “Since we saw an immediate benefit when we turned on our first solar energy project, the decision to double its size was an easy one. By increasing our power generating operations, we will further lower our demand on the public power grid, as well as have the chance to sell back to the utility power that we generate,” said Todd. The 10kW system, installed in December 2010, has already produced 8.18MWh of energy, or enough to power 270 houses for one day with a carbon offset of six tons, the equivalent of 145 trees.
Other Energy Saving Steps
“Before we decided on the solar initiative, we were already looking at how to cut our energy consumption,” explained Todd. “Power use is one of every company’s major expenses. With more than 225,000 square feet here in two facilities, just turning on the lights everyday can be a major expense to our power costs. We started with efforts to trim costs, and along the way, we found a way to be a better eco-friendly company too.”
Todd and his group initially added more efficient light fixtures to both facilities, accompanied by motion- sensor light switches. “We are all guilty of leaving lights on in a room that is not being used,” said Todd. “With our motion-sensor system, the building turns on and off its own lights as needed.” These two steps alone saved Service Thread 33% annually in its lighting cost alone.
Service Thread is committed to environmental stewardship. In 2010 the company became the first in Scotland County to be certified as a “Green Business” by Sustainable Sandhills, a local effort to show business how to be more eco-friendly.
“We take corporate leadership and stewardship very seriously here at Service Thread,” said Sam M. Butler, III, the company’s president and CEO. “While the solar initiative is lowering our energy costs, it means more to us than that. One of our missions is to be good neighbors and good corporate stewards of what we have been given. Hopefully we are leaving something positive for future generations.”
"As the voice of business for Scotland County, we are excited and proud of Service Thread for taking the lead on an initiative we feel is critical to the continued success of the region," stated Theresa Lamson, President of the Laurinburg/Scotland County Area Chamber of Commerce. "As we look down the road at the future of business here in Scotland County, we feel we would be remiss if we did not ask our members
to investigate more sustainable practices, as well efficiency and cost-effective methods of operation. Service Thread has long been a community leader, and their efforts in green certification come as no surprise."
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