The rooftop installation consists of 2,200 panels producing approximately 650KW annually. The funds received are credited to the Jamieson utilities account and are offsetting almost 20% of the electricity bill.
The Jamieson Laboratories Rooftop Solar Project
Andy Holwell | Jamieson Laboratories.
How did the Jamieson Laboratories rooftop solar project come about?
The Jamieson solar panel project started when Jamieson was approached by Solar Power Network (SPN) through the local contractor, Massotti, who originally built Jamieson’s Rhodes Drive manufacturing facility in Windsor, ON in 1994. Massotti suggested we consider going off the grid after working with Jamieson on several other projects throughout the years and becoming familiar with our facilities and environmental principles. The Ontario government launched its green energy act at about the same time Massotti approached Jamieson about the solar power potential of our rooftop. We were subsequently approached by numerous vendors and at the time we also considered owning and installing our own system. After evaluating several options, the Jamieson executives concluded that the proposal presented by SPN was favourable.
What did your partnership with Solar Power Network entail?
Engineering studies were undertaken to confirm all logistics. The negotiation process included conditions regarding terms of access for rooftop maintenance by both parties. We worked out details such as internal access to the plant mains, location of the roof access points for delivering racking and panels, as well as safety requirements and external pads for the solar grid network transformers. The final agreement was signed as a 20-year lease agreement.
SPN submitted the proposal to the OPA for approvals and worked with the local power provider for access to the grid. This process took longer than anticipated but finally was approved and the solar panels became operational in May 2012.
Please elaborate on the logistics and specifications for this project i.e. size and scale, dollars spent/received, etc.
Work started in the late spring of 2011 and was completed in May of 2012. The rooftop installation consists of 2,200 panels producing approximately 650KW annually. The funds received are credited to the Jamieson utilities account and are offsetting almost 20% of the electricity bill.
Can you tell us a bit about the Ontario FIT program and how it came into play with this project?
Ontario’s government is a strong proponent of growing the clean energy sector as part of their plan to ensure Ontarians have the electricity needed to power homes, schools, hospitals and the economy. The Province is home to the largest solar projects in the country and is the leading solar energy producer in Canada. By comparison, Ontario has about 500 megawatts of solar PV capacity online and has more than 1,600 megawatts of additional solar PV capacity under contract. Ontario’s long-term energy plan to ensure a sustainable, clean energy system is backed by a competitive Feed-In Tariff program that encourages local participation. The Ontario Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program offers investors in clean energy long-term price guarantees including roughly 80.2 c/kWh for residential solar rooftop projects 10 kW or smaller. Our solar project not only provides us with a variable cost offset but it increases the supply of clean, renewable energy – something we hope can help move the needle as Ontario prepares to completely eliminate dirty coal-fired electricity generation by 2014. At its most basic level, we are making headway in providing cleaner air for future generations.
The FIT program didn't affect Jamieson directly as we just provided the rooftop space. SPN will be receiving those incentives. What I can say, is that without the FIT program, the ROI or payback would be quite long in coming. When we analyzed the incentive program, the payback period was 12 years. Without the incentives, there is no doubt that investments within the solar power program may be difficult for many companies to justify given the present economic climate.
How closely is the system being monitored and do you have any preliminary results to share?
The system is being monitored and the output is slightly exceeding the seasonal results expected. The system will be tied in shortly to our website and this information will be available to the public. The true test will be in the winter when the effect of shorter daylight hours and overcast conditions impacts solar energy.
Are you a big advocate of the solar movement in Ontario? What additional plans, if any, do you have regarding future solar projects?
We believe that the solar panel rooftop installation is an excellent use of space which would otherwise be poorly utilized. Solar panels are preferable to using arable land and are cleaner than fossil fuel coal. Starting in October, plans are in place for a second rooftop solar panel installation to be built at Jamieson’s distribution centre. This installation will be of equal size and output to that of the Rhodes Drive manufacturing facility.
What other green initiatives does Jamieson Laboratories actively engage in or plan for the future beyond solar?
Future plans currently being investigated for Jamieson include air to air heat transfer units to optimize wasted heat emitted from some manufacturing processes. We are also exploring the use of ozonated water for cleaning to reduce chemical use, as well as waste water contamination and LED lighting. These two projects have good ROI with or without government incentives. That said, our criteria are not always linked to ROI. A good case in point is Jamieson Trees and our decision to offset corporate paper consumption. Good corporate stewardship is always our guiding consideration.
Andy Holwell, Director of Operations, Jamieson Laboratories.
Andy Holwell is the Director of Operations for Jamieson Laboratories in Windsor, Ontario. As one of his responsibilities, Holwell develops and leads Jamieson’s corporate social responsibility initiatives as they pertain to manufacturing and production practices.
About Jamieson Laboratories
Established in 1922, Jamieson Laboratories is Canada’s largest manufacturer and distributor of advanced natural-health products and a world-leading innovator in the development of proprietary supplement formulas. Jamieson products are made at the company’s state-of-the-art laboratories in Windsor, Ontario. With corporate offices in Toronto, Jamieson exports products to more than 50 countries. For more information, please call 1-800- 265-5088. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/jamiesonvitamins, and follow us on Twitter @Jamieson_Labs.
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