By the end of 2008, the world headquarters of Merck & Company Inc. in Whitehouse Station, N.J., will have the largest ground-mounted solar power tracking system in the eastern half of the United States. A 1.6-megawatt SunPower solar tracking power system, comprising approximately 7,000 solar panels, will cover seven acres of Merck's 1,000-acre site.
Through a type of arrangement that is making large solar installations more feasible, the system will be owned and operated by UTC Power, a United Technologies Corporation company. UTC Power will supply solar power to Merck under a 20-year power purchase agreement. UTC Power also will own, and be free to trade, the Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) and other environmental attributes associated with the system.
The solar power system will supply up to 7 percent of Merck’s electrical energy needs at its headquarters, where approximately 2,800 people work. Construction began this month – and the system will be operational by the end of 2008. The project will be among the largest of its type at any corporate setting in the country.
“As a healthcare company, we are concerned about our environment,” said Roger Humphrey, executive director, Merck Global Site Services. “Supporting the use of clean, reliable solar power is consistent with our business mission. We also expect to realize energy savings by reducing the amount of electricity we need to purchase from the grid.”
The project is being developed by Dome-Tech, Inc., a UTC Power company based in New Jersey, which specializes in energy consulting and project development and has extensive solar energy experience. Dome-Tech has performed energy audits and services for Merck over a 15-year period to help ensure energy is used efficiently at Merck facilities.
The new solar system will be installed by SunPower, a manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels, and solar systems, under a turnkey contract with UTC Power.
It is estimated that the project will generate 2.5 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 1,300 tons per year. The environmental benefit equates to removing 216 automobiles from the road, or planting 268 acres of trees annually (trees produce oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere).
“UTC Power is expanding its capability to provide clean energy and sustainable services for building owners,” said Ken Fox, UTC Power vice president of on-site power solutions. “While our traditional focus has been on fuel cell and microturbine-based products, we recognize our customers may require a broader range of services, products and financial solutions to meet their energy needs.”
Charles Braunstein, Dome-Tech president, added, “Companies like Merck that take a comprehensive approach and combine traditional energy conservation measures with supporting clean, renewable energy sources are the most effective at reducing energy consumption and helping to reverse the effects of climate change.”
Merck & Co., Inc. is a global research-driven pharmaceutical company. Established in 1891, Merck discovers, develops, manufactures and markets vaccines and medicines to address unmet medical needs.
About UTC Power
UTC Power, a United Technologies Corporation company, is a full-service provider of environmentally responsible power solutions. With 50 years of experience, UTC Power is the world leader in developing and producing fuel cells for on-site power, transportation, space and defense applications, as well as a leader in innovative, renewable energy solutions and combined cooling, heating and power solutions for the distributed energy market. Its Dome-Tech business unit offers energy and engineering consulting services to optimize building performance, reduce energy expenses and improve building sustainability.