Bendix powers up solar array

by Today's Trucking

Bendix on Wednesday celebrated a 1.168-megawatt solar array coming on-line and providing power to a manufacturing plant on its commercial vehicle system’s campus southwest of Huntington, Indiana.

Bill Schubert, Bendix corporate manager, environmental and sustainability said, “Those solar panels soaking up the Indiana sunshine – even on cloudy days – will satisfy about 30% of Huntington Plant 1’s energy requirements and should decrease the campus’ carbon footprint by nearly 19% – about the equivalent of burning through more than 122,000 gallons of gasoline.”

A field of Bendix solar panels
At full capacity, Bendix’s solar project southwest of Huntington, Indiana, produces 1.5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, delivering an estimated $140,000 in annual electric utility savings. (Photo: Bendix)

Bendix, a manufacturer of active safety, air management, and braking solutions for commercial vehicles, is a subsidiary of Munich, Germany-based Knorr-Bremse. The solar project is a key element of the company’s overall climate strategy, and over the past decade, Bendix has pursued and adopted the environmental strategies of its parent company, a manufacturer of braking systems and supplier of other rail and commercial vehicle systems.

Indianapolis-based PSG Energy Group managed construction of the array. At full capacity, the solar project produces 1.5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, delivering an estimated $140,000 in annual electric utility savings.

“Last year, Bendix and Knorr-Bremse committed to cutting CO2 emissions in half by 2030,” said Maria Gutierrez, Bendix director of corporate responsibility and sustainability. “Renewable energy projects like this solar array are just one way we’re working toward that goal, along with improving our energy efficiency and purchasing green energy.”

Carbon footprint decrease

The Huntington solar array will contribute a 3% decrease to Bendix’s carbon footprint across North America, furthering the company’s progress toward its climate goals. In 2020, Bendix diverted 99.9% of its waste from landfill, and over the past six years, the company has reduced its energy consumption by more than 14 million kilowatt-hours.

            Bendix’s solar installation produces electricity through 2,612 450-watt panels, and during the plant’s normal hours of operation, all the energy generated will be used by the facility. During non-working hours like weekends and holidays, however, Bendix will be able to send excess energy back to the electrical grid.

            Schubert also added that Bendix plans to plant wildflowers beneath the solar array this fall to help maintain a natural environment of native flora and encourage pollinators. Another zero-waste practice in place at the site is the use of a low-energy consuming, vacuum distillation recovery and reuse system, installed at Huntington Plant 2 in 2018, which allows 80% of the facility’s wastewater to be reused, reducing discharge and the use of additional fresh water.

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