Cummins adds solar array at engine plant

Cummins solar array

Cummins announced Thursday it continues to make significant investments in solar energy with the installation of its second largest solar array at Rocky Mount Engine Plant in North Carolina (U.S.).

The RMEP solar installation will directly support the company’s environmental sustainability strategy, PLANET 2050, by using low-carbon renewable power to reduce greenhouse gases.

As part of the 2030 goals included in PLANET 2050, the strategy calls for reducing absolute greenhouse gas emissions from facilities and operations by 50 percent. The RMEP solar array and increasing the use of renewable power will significantly help move closer to that target, producing zero emissions throughout the process, Cummins says.

The mid-range diesel and natural gas engine plant produces engines for more than 500 customers and is a major employer in Nash County with over 1,800 people employed at the location. The 3.62 MW solar farm, which sits on 14 acres, produces power directly sent to the plant, reducing its commercial energy needs.

The solar installation will produce around 5.6 million kWh of power annually and more than 136 million kWh over 25 years. Annually, the solar installation will sequester the carbon equivalent of 4,862 acres of forest, roughly the space occupied by the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, Cummins adds.

“We have ambitious sustainability goals in PLANET 2050 - aligned with the Paris climate accords and a target to be carbon-neutral by 2050 - and are fully committed to achieving them,” says Jennifer Rumsey, president and CEO, Cummins. “To get there, our efforts must touch our products, customers, facilities, employees and supply chain. This project is a reflection of that, and our goal of reducing absolute greenhouse gas emissions from facilities and operations by half by 2030. I was delighted to participate in the ribbon cutting of the solar farm this spring, and proud to see it now in operation and making an impact.”

Uniqiue to RMEP, the project uses solar tracking panels. Cummins says this system has a single-axis tracker allowing the panels to arc and track the sun as it rises and sets. This increases system efficiency without having to install more panels. The tracking panels were installed with a ground mount, due to the project having the available space and in turn being able to maximize the system size for optimal exposure.

The solar array was installed by the RMEP Engineering and Corporate Environmental teams to reduce purchased electrical consumption.

The largest solar array within the company is on top of the Beijing Foton Cummins Engine Company (BFCEC) in Beijing, China, one of the company’s busiest plants, while, RMEP remains Cummins’ largest solar array in the United States and the largest Cummins owned solar installation globally.

Cummins has completed 51 solar arrays installations at locations all around the world from Australia to North America. 35 of these projects have completed since 2019, with 21 installations in India, where Cummins to date has their largest renewable footprint. Work is taking place on planning for an additional 44 new solar installations at Cummins sites, including 15 additional projects in the US and 9 locations in China. Additional arrays are planned at other Cummins facilities, including sites in Mexico, UK and Australia.

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