American Capital Energy starts 3 MW North American rooftop installation

Located at GSK’s Northeast Regional Distribution Center (RDC) in York, Pennsylvania, the U.S., the system is set to comprise around 11,000 solar panels and, according to the company, will be North America’s largest rooftop solar array.

GSK added that the panels should generate enough electricity to meet the annual energy needs of the nearly 500,000 square foot building.

Furthermore, the company says each solar panel weighs about 60 pounds, is over six feet long and more than three feet wide. The panels will be installed in a grid system in sets of three. Nearly 100 workers will spend the next two months completing the installation, with around 500 panels reportedly being installed each day.

GSK received government funding and solar incentives to help finance the project. A USD$1 million grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Commonwealth Financing Authority and USD$4.1 million in federal tax credits will help pay for the project. GSK will also utilize energy savings and Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SREC) to offset costs.

"The support of state and federal leaders is instrumental in helping GSK expand our solar energy initiatives," said Larry Brown, vice president, North America Supply, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare. "This solar panel array provides a blueprint for GSK to bring solar power to each of its North American distribution facilities in the next few years.

"As a next step, we will then install solar panels at our Fresno, Ca. RDC by spring of 2011. Together, the York and Fresno facilities will generate 60 percent of the total GSK Consumer Healthcare North America RDC electricity supply from clean renewable solar energy. This is a remarkable step toward us becoming a more energy-efficient company."

Four other solar panel projects were recently completed at GSK facilities in Upper Providence and Collegeville, Pa., North Carolina; Belgium and Singapore.