Making Onsite Solar Work for Your Manufacturing Unit: A Step-by-Step Guide
Northampton, Massachusetts — CNH Industrial, a global leader in manufacturing agricultural and construction equipment, has its eyes on a greener future. Recognizing the enormous potential to slash its carbon emissions, the company has embarked on a bold journey to make its manufacturing operations and products more eco-friendly. The 2022 sustainability report reveals just how far they’ve come, boasting a 31% reduction in emissions KPI since 2018 and harnessing 60% of its electricity from renewable sources.
Maria Francesca Drago, the Energy Manager at CNH Industrial, is crystal clear about the company’s goals. “By 2030, we aim to cut our carbon footprint in half per production hour, compared to 2018, and to pull 90% of our electricity from renewable sources,” she told TriplePundit.
One major move in their sustainability playbook? Solar power. Between 2020 and 2021, CNH Industrial rolled out solar installations at five of its manufacturing sites across Belgium, Brazil, Canada, India, and Mexico. By 2024, nine more plants will join the solar-powered ranks. Ultimately, the goal is for all plants to be 100% powered by renewables by 2030, and most will be outfitted with photovoltaic systems by 2040.
But they’re not stopping at traditional solar panels. CNH Industrial is flexing its innovative muscle by deploying solar smart flowers—an inventive alternative for locations where rooftop installations aren’t viable. These intriguing devices mimic sunflowers, following the sun to optimize energy capture, resulting in a 40% increase in energy output compared to their size.
The challenges of implementing these changes on a global scale are as numerous as they are complex. “It’s not just about installing solar panels; it’s also about understanding local laws and capitalizing on available subsidies or grants,” Drago explained. But the real game-changer? Employee involvement. The success of CNH Industrial’s renewable energy initiative relies heavily on a collective effort. Drago emphasized that fostering a culture of sustainability among global employees can catalyze real, lasting change.
Employee engagement isn’t just a buzzword here; it’s making a tangible impact. At a plant in India, workers started inquiring about solar panels for their homes after the plant’s solar installation. Employees at the Zedelgem, Belgium plant can even charge their electric bikes with power generated onsite.
Beyond going solar, CNH Industrial is also lighting up the future with intelligent LED lighting technology, expected to generate 30% more energy savings. Additionally, they’re introducing eco-friendly products like bio-methane-powered tractors, furthering their commitment to a sustainable future.
Alex Perera, deputy director of the World Resources Institute’s energy program, emphasized the benefits of onsite solar. “By situating solar installations where they’re needed most, you alleviate the strain on energy transmission infrastructure, especially during peak times,” he said.
Raising investment in solar energy is crucial for meeting the global climate goals outlined in the Paris Agreement. Drago insists that the time for companies to act is now. “If we’re serious about a sustainable future for the next generation, we need all hands on deck.”
Perera echoed these sentiments, saying, “Aligning business practices with climate and development objectives is becoming mission-critical. Companies at the forefront of these efforts are positioning themselves for future success.”
So, CNH Industrial is not just talking the talk; they’re walking the walk, setting the bar high for other businesses eager to make a meaningful impact on our planet’s health. And their journey offers invaluable lessons for any company looking to turn their green dreams into reality.