This cement company is installing a 25 MW onsite solar farm

Holcim US is going to install a 25-megawatt (MW) solar farm at its Michigan cement factory that will generate more than 30% of the plant’s power.

Holcim has pledged to power all of its US operations with 100% clean energy by 2030, and its latest move sees solar developer NorthStar Clean Energy installing an onsite solar farm on 100 acres at Holcim’s Alpena, Michigan, factory. The new solar array will produce over 30% of its current energy demand, and it will boost the factory’s clean energy to meet 75% of its electric power needs.

Manufacturing cement is energy-intensive and produces a lot of CO2 emissions. Each pound of concrete made releases 0.93 pounds of CO2. In fact, the cement industry is responsible for about 8% of global emissions – that’s far more than aviation, which sits at more than 2%.

There’s momentum in the concrete industry to address that problem. For example, the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA), of which Holcim is a member, focuses on sustainable development, and it launched a net-zero concrete road map in 2021. Holcim US is part of global building materials maker Holcim Group, which is headquartered in Switzerland and calls itself a “global leader in sustainable construction.”

Construction of Holcim’s Michigan solar farm will begin this year, and commercial operations are expected to begin in December 2024. It’s expected to reduce the plant’s CO2 emissions by approximately 25,000 tons annually.

This isn’t the company’s first clean energy installation at its US cement factories. It has three onsite wind turbines at its Paulding, Ohio, plant; and a solar farm at its Hagerstown, Maryland, plant is supplying more than 28% of the plant’s energy. It also announced in March that it’s bringing large-scale solar and battery storage to its Portland cement plant in Florence, Colorado.

Read more: US cement manufacturers release their road map to carbon neutrality by 2050

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