AVON, Ohio – Atop two Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems plants in Acuña, Mexico, a pair of solar arrays convert sunlight into electricity, capable of producing more than 2.1 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy annually for the massive manufacturing operation.
The arrays consist of nearly 2,600 photovoltaic panels that generate about 11% of each plant’s required energy and will reduce CO2 emissions by more than 850 tons per year (about 13%), decreasing reliance on the local power grid and reducing Bendix’s carbon footprint in pursuit of sustainability.
The $1 million project is also the first solar installation of its kind among the region’s numerous manufacturers. An April 27 ribbon-cutting event commemorated the solar array, which came online on December 15, 2022.
The 2.1 million kWh of electricity produced annually is about the same amount of energy needed to power 100 homes for a full year. And the 850-ton yearly reduction of CO2 is roughly equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions from more than two million miles driven by an average gasoline-powered passenger vehicle, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
“Since the release of our Climate Strategy 2030, we have put an intense focus on cutting carbon dioxide emissions in our largest manufacturing campus, located in Acuña, Mexico,” said Bill Schubert, Bendix director, environmental and sustainability. “These solar panels are among several climate action projects furthering that goal.”
Bendix, the North American leader in the design, development, and manufacture of active safety, air management, and braking solutions for commercial vehicles, is a subsidiary of Munich, Germany-based Knorr-Bremse.
Over the past decade, Bendix has pursued and adopted the sustainability strategies of its parent company, the global market leader for braking systems and a leading supplier of other rail and commercial vehicle systems.
Solar projects are a key element of Bendix’s overall climate strategy: The Acuña arrays are the company’s second solar installation, following one completed in Huntington, Indiana, in 2021.
Impacts, Today and Tomorrow
The size and scope of Bendix Acuña – which opened in 1987 and now encompasses three manufacturing facilities, a logistics center, and a new site under construction – make it one of Knorr-Bremse’s largest consumers of electricity and generators of carbon emissions. Through their climate strategy, Bendix and Knorr-Bremse committed to cutting CO2 emissions in half by 2030 from the 2018 baseline, setting the stage for significant sustainability efforts in Acuña.
“As soon as it came online, the Acuña solar array started making a difference,” said Maria Gutierrez, Bendix senior director, environmental, social, and governance (ESG). “It will contribute a 2.4% decrease to our North American carbon footprint, and that’s important progress. We’ve also made operational changes to improve energy efficiency and implemented more effective control of our energy consumption. Every step forward matters.”
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