The pharmaceutical, chemical, and agricultural biotechnology company, Bayer, which is based in Germany, is putting its sustainability goals into practice with two large-scale solar installations in the U.S.
In Woodland, California, Bayer enlisted Enel North America as developer of the 2.7 MW solar and 1 MW / 2 MWh energy storage system at its vegetable research and development site. Enel is the owner and operator and 100% offtaker, having signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with Bayer.
The Woodland solar installation occupies approximately 10 of the 210 acres of the company’s property. The ground-mount system is expected to provide 70% of the site’s electrical energy demand, and avoid approximately 44,732 metric tons of carbon dioxide over the project’s lifetime. In addition, the battery bank will store excess energy for use when the system is not generating power, such as nighttime or in the event of a power outage.
Bayer also plans to have eight electric vehicle chargers installed for employee use later this year. And between the rows of solar panels, flowering cover crops, such as wildflowers, will be planted for pollinator habitat, soil remediation and aesthetic purposes.
“With this new installation, the Woodland site is the most onsite solar-powered operation within Bayer globally,” says Enrique Wehlen, head of sustainability, safety, health & environments (SSHE) North America at Bayer.
The second recently completed project is at Bayer’s main U.S. offices in Whippany, New Jersey. For this project Bayer partnered with DSD Renewables to complete a 1.7 MW ground mount solar installation that is expected to offset approximately 25% of the Whippany site’s total annual usage. The tracker-based installation is comprised of 3,600 modules.
The installation was designed to preserve the surrounding landscape, which involved shifting a fence line, limiting tree removal, adding river rock to match the site’s aesthetic, and coordinating closely with the team at Bayer to ensure its on-site bee colony at Whippany, which is used for tree pollination, was not disrupted.
“This installation is the perfect example of our approach to solar development, engineering, construction, and financing,” says Dan O’Brien, vice president of Commercial Origination at DSD.
Both projects align with Bayer’s sustainability commitments to reach carbon neutrality by 2030 and to achieve net-zero waste across its entire value chain by 2050. A key strategy is to purchase 100% sustainable renewable electricity by 2030. Bayer is embracing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“These solar installations are a strong signal to our employees, customers and communities where we live and operate of our commitment to GHG emission reduction,” says Delf Bintakies, global head of sustainability, safety, health & environments (SSHE) at Bayer. “Bayer sets specific criteria for its own procurement of green energy. This includes the proximity of energy production facilities to Bayer sites, the use of new sources of generation and a focus on wind and solar power.”
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