Sunny Days for Solar Power Savings in Belgium
Pfizer Global Supply's facility in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium has installed a 2,400-square-meter photovoltaic system that will provide 171 megawatt hours of renewable energy for the site- enough to power 50 households per year.
With more than 1,000 solar panels, the installation is the largest in the company's Global Supply network and one of the largest systems of its kind in the region. Alain Deprez, Pfizer Global Supply Energy Manager, said the system is projected to reduce the site's carbon footprint by at least 60 tons per year.
"Not only are we all working for a healthier, greener world, we're also striving to be more operationally competitive over the long term by reducing the cost of energy for our manufacturing sites," said Kirsten Lund-Jurgensen, Vice President, Primary Care/Oncology Operating Unit for Pfizer Global Supply, and Chairperson of Pfizer's Environmental Sustainability Program Steering Council.
"The success of our green journey depends upon colleagues taking advantage of opportunities they believe will improve the environment in ways that mutually benefit Pfizer and its stakeholders. The Louvain-la-Neuve site team is highly engaged and the solar project is a very visible and significant milestone."
The photovoltaic system at Louvain-la-Neuve converts sunlight into electricity using copper indium gallium diselenide technology. The system generates electricity and feeds it into the site's electrical system, decreasing the amount of energy needing to be purchased from the external grid. Since peak generation and energy usage typically take place during the same afternoon hours, the photovoltaic system is able to bring the biggest benefit at the same time that grid is experiencing its greatest demand.
"We are working toward using 35 percent renewable energy at our facility by 2016," said Christian Borgniet, Site Leader, Louvain-la-Neuve. "To achieve this we are studying different possibilities including solar, the use of biogas and the purchase of electricity from cleaner sources. We believe in investing in the latest technologies to grow our business in the most sustainable way possible."
The photovoltaic system was built in just two months, "which is extremely fast, due to the innovative photovoltaic technology we used," Deprez said.
Power generated by the panels represents 3 percent to 5 percent of the site's yearly electrical consumption, which is equivalent to all the power used by the site's packaging operations and administrative offices combined. The installation utilizes 80 percent of the roof above the packaging and warehouse area, maximizing power density and the production of renewable energy.
The cost of the project is partially offset by regional government subsidies, including green certificates and other incentives, as a result of the European Union's mandate to comply with its goal of reducing total energy usage by 20 percent by 2020.
"We had a lot of support for this initiative from local government and Pfizer Global Engineering. Jean-Marc Nollet, the Walloon Minister for Sustainable Development and Energy, joined us for the inauguration," Deprez said.
Louvain-la-Neuve was one of three recipients of Pfizer's own Energy & Climate Change Global Awards in 2009, which recognize Pfizer facilities for innovative projects that reduce energy and carbon emissions.
Click here to learn more about Pfizer's green journey.