Sonoco turns on 1 MW rooftop solar array at New Jersey warehouse


Packaging company Sonoco Products flipped the switch on for a 1 MW rooftop solar array this past week at a Dayton, N.J. warehouse facility.  The new system installed by Novitium Energy will produce 1.295 million kWh of clean power per year and allow the industrial facility to self generate 58% of its electricity from solar panels.

Over the 25-year lifespan of the C&I solar system, the kilowatt hours avoided via solar produced at Sonoco will eliminate greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 10,235 metric tons of carbon dioxide, or the equivalent of 1.15 million gallons of gasoline burned.

The rooftop system uses 2,469 JinkoSolar Eagle JKM-405 watt mono facial modules to power the warehouse facility.  The system is connected to eight SolarEdge SE100K-US inverters, at 100 kW AC each providing a total of 800 kW AC paired with SolarEdge P960 optimizers. The rooftop system is mounted using Aerocompact’s CompactFlat S05 ballasted racking hardware, while the system’s power is monitored via AlsoEnergy’s data acquisition software, Jeremy Conner, chief executive officer of Novitium Energy, told pv magazine USA.

“We are thankful to Novitium, our local team, and engineers who have been engaged in making this effort a success. This will bring Sonoco one step closer to meeting our emissions reduction goals,” said Elizabeth Rhue, VP of global environmental, sustainability and centralized technology, Sonoco.

New York Stock Exchange-listed Sonoco has 22,000 employees and in August 2022 filed its 2021-2022 Corporate Sustainability Report titled, “Better Packaging. Better Life. Building a Better World.” Aligned with the Science Based Targets framework of the Paris Climate Agreement, Sonoco’s sustainability report calls for reducing Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions at least 25% by 2030, and reducing energy consumption by 8% at its manufacturing facilities.  At its 300 global manufacturing operations the company has undertaken a review to include energy efficiency and renewable energy resources such as the Dayton, N.J. rooftop solar system. Founded in 1899, Sonoco produces consumer food and beverage packaging as well as industrial packaging products, and has placed on Barron’s 100 Most Sustainable Companies list for the past four years.

Formerly known as National Energy Partners, Vorhees, N.J.-based Novitium is a commercial and industrial solar developer that has developed a $100 million portfolio consisting of rooftop, carport and ground-mounted systems for corporations, educational facilities and non-profit organizations across New Jersey.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, New Jersey is ranked the eighth largest solar state in the U.S., producing 4.27 GW of solar energy at about 170 facilities, with solar accounting for 6.7% of the Garden State’s energy mix through September 30.

Unlike other states, where capacity figures can be driven by one specific type of solar installation, New Jersey has a healthy mix of residential, commercial and industrial (C&I), utility-scale.  Over the next five years, the state is expected to bring online an additional 2 GW of new solar projects.

Besides Sonoco, a number of corporations procure solar energy in New Jersey, including Prologis, Amazon and Hartz Mountain Industries. Hartz’s 8.5 MW solar project in Hamilton, N.J. is currently the largest C&I solar project in the state.

The Garden State is home to a number of active solar developers and independent power producers such as Soltage, Nautilus Solar Energy, CS Energy and Core Development Group.

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