Daimler Trucks North America flips the switch for 1,560 solar panels

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Daimler Trucks North America commemorated, with a “Switch On” ceremony, its Cleveland, N.C., Freightliner Truck Manufacturing Plant’s status as a Duke Energy distributed generation solar energy site. Through a 25-year contract, DTNA is providing the land to support 1,560 solar panels, owned and operated by Duke Energy. This photovoltaic solar field project is projected to produce 359 kilowatts of renewable energy for Duke Energy customers – enough electricity to power about 38 average-sized homes.

“Providing the land for these solar panels was a visible, tangible way to fulfill our company’s vision to be a good community partner, a responsible corporate citizen and a proper steward of our cherished natural resources,” says Roger Nielsen, chief operating officer of DTNA.

The power generated by these panels goes back into the community to help Duke Energy meet its residential renewable energy commitment. A second North Carolina DTNA facility, the High Point, N.C., headquarters of Thomas Built Buses, is home to another 1,690 panels and is projected to power an additional 41 average-sized homes annually.

The renewable energy standard for North Carolina requires each public electric utility to meet at least 12.5 percent of its North Carolina retail customers’ electricity needs through new renewable energy sources or energy efficiency measures by 2021.

“The visibility of the solar panel field created an opportunity to educate the community and the next generation of power users on renewable energy possibilities,” says Mike McCurry, Cleveland plant manager for Freightliner Trucks.

Plant employees worked with Cleveland Elementary School to develop an educational program and, during a series of five assemblies, educated more than 300 local students about renewable energy. As part of the program, students were invited to participate in a “renewable energy” art and essay contest. As part of the celebration, the winners of the contest will be on hand to receive their awards.

“We are proud of our efforts to conserve energy, reduce our environmental impacts and to be a part of Duke Energy’s distributed generation plan, and we are excited to share all of those efforts with the community,” says McCurry.