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Thursday, July 05, 2018 1:59PM
KeeneSolar array to power Bensonwood Homes

A new 136-kilowatt photovoltaic array is expected to produce 40 percent of the electricity needed at the new Bensonwood/Unity Homes panel manufacturing facility at 25 Production Ave., Keene. The solar array components and its installation were provided by local and family-owned Green Energy Options of Keene.

The new 110,000 square-foot fabrication facility, which became operational in April 2018, is now equipped with an expansive rooftop solar array that has a commissioned “turn on” date of June 30.

Bensonwood and Unity Homes join a small, but growing, number of companies using solar energy to power manufacturing facilities, noted Tedd Benson, the companies steward and CEO. Some of the largest operational manufacturing facilities using solar energy to power production in the U.S. include the Volkswagen production plant in Tennessee which uses a 33-acre “solar park” to generate about 13 percent of the energy used by the Volkswagen plant during production. Tesla and Apple have also taken significant steps to use renewable energy to power their plants.

“Solar energy is a pragmatic way to power manufacturing facilities,” said Benson.

Factories are perfect for harnessing the sun’s rays and creating power because many are built with flat roofs that are ideal for installing photovoltaic panels, said Benson, who added that another benefit is that many factories operate during the day when solar power is collected and generated.

Benson said that the photovoltaic array on the Bensonwood/Unity Homes panel manufacturing facility is just another step toward the companies’ commitment to sustainable and clean technology buildings.

“We are proud that we can now say we build energy-efficient homes in a facility that is powered by renewable energy,” he said.