When completed, the new rooftop solar array being built at GlaxoSmithKline’s Northeast Regional Distribution Center in York, Pennsylvania will be the largest rooftop solar array in North America (although it may not hold that distinction for long). GSK’s new solar system, scheduled to be completed this winter, will be made of 11,000 Suntech solar panels spread across the distribution center’s buildings – total area of about 7 football fields. Overall, the alternative energy system will produce about 3.4 MW electricity each year – enough to make the buildings totally self sufficient.
This is all part of Glaxo’s strategy to reduce electricity usage by 45% by 2015. GSK is also working on installing solar panels at their Fresno, CA Regional Distribution Center by the spring of 2011. When the Glaxo Fresno facility goes solar, it means that 60% of all of GSK’s North American electricity usage will generated using solar power. GSK recently completed smaller solar projects at their facilities in Upper Providence and Collegeville, Pa., North Carolina, Belgium and Singapore.
As for being the largest rooftop array in North America, Glaxo probably won’t have the largest for long. Macy’s is working on a SunPower based 3.5 MW rooftop system currently being built in Arizona, with a planned completion date of March 2011.