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Future bright for solar energy at Toray Plastics

The plastic films extruder intends to install a $2 million photovoltaic system to help power its operations with solar energy. Funding will come from Toray, grants and loans from the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation's Renewable Energy fund, and state and federal grants made possible by the Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The plastic films extruder intends to install a $2 million photovoltaic system to help power its operations with solar energy. Funding will come from Toray, grants and loans from the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation's Renewable Energy fund, and state and federal grants made possible by the Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Toray's campus,site for its new farm
Toray's new solar array will be erected on the company's campus (shown).

Toray Plastics (America) Inc. (North Kingstown, RI) is a subsidiary of Toray Industries Inc. The films processor says construction of the 446-kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic (PV) field will begin in Q2 2011,with the solar array located on company property. The new solar field will occupy approximately three acres, consist of 1650 PV panels with utility-scale single-access trackers, and, according to Toray, will be the largest solar-powered system in the state.

The processor estimates that the system will generate 625 megawatt hours (MWh) a year, and help reduce the company's CO2 emissions by 340 tons per year. Construction is expected to be completed by Q3 2011.

Richard Schloesser, president and CEO of the processor, commented, "Toray has been immersed in sustainable business practices for years and we are very excited to launch this major clean-energy undertaking in 2011. We're also very pleased that the installation will bring new jobs to Rhode Island residents." Schloesser is referring to the comprehensive sustainability initiative launched by the company in 2004, which it credits with leading to annual savings of 29 million gallons of water, 8.5 million KWh of electricity, and 10.1 billion BTUs. Operational changes have also contributed to zero landfill waste.

Earlier this year, Toray was a party to a petition against construction of an offshore wind farm that it said was not "commercially reasonable" and would cost it about $7 million/yr more in energy costs.

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