L’Oreal USA turns back time to 2005 (and beyond)

L’Oreal USA, the United States subsidiary of international cosmetic powerhouse L’Oreal Group, announced two solar arrays that will, when completed, comprise the largest arrays in the states of Kentucky and Arkansas.

The solar arrays will also help L’Oreal USA reach the aggressive target it set as part of its sustainability program — to cut its carbon emissions to 60 percent below its 2005 levels. The arrays will also push the company toward its goal of powering its entire U.S. manufacturing operation with renewable energy.

The 1.5 MW array at its Florence, Ky., plant will be comprised of 5,000 modules on 14 acres of land near the plant and will increase the total installed solar in the state by 16 percent. Construction on the project will commence later this year under the direction of installer Scenic Hill Solar. In Arkansas, the 1.2 MW array in North Little Rock will be made up 4,000 panels, will also be constructed by Scenic Hill Solar and will increase the state’s installed solar by 6 percent. The new array will supplement the first array, built at the plant in 2012, to power 100 percent of its outdoor lighting needs.

L’Oreal becomes the latest company to invest in solar as a way to alleviate electricity costs by locking in prices (in its case, 30 years). Many large commercial companies, especially those with extensive rooftop space on its retail locations, are recognizing the value of rooftop solar. As the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) reported, companies as diverse as Walmart, Apple, Target and IKEA have invested in solar to a capacity of 323 MW.