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O&G Industries ups solar power sourcing in tandem with Energy Star pilot

Connecticut’s largest privately held construction and heavy building materials producer recently turned the switch on a 1.3-megawatt solar array at its Southbury quarry, ready mixed concrete and asphalt operation. O&G Industries couples the 3,762-panel installation with a 280-kilowatt energy storage system that will augment power supply during peak demand cycles—especially early morning hours when the sun isn’t strong enough to keep the array at full output while concrete, aggregate and asphalt production startup spikes electricity use.

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The Southbury quarry solar array progressed in collaboration with Eversource, Solect Energy and EnelX. It greatly boosts renewable energy harvesting O&G Industries has effected at its Bridgeport mason supply yard and Torrington fleet maintenance shop. PHOTOS: Elevation Aerials for O&G Industries
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The Southbury project was challenging from the get-go due to panel placement across a five-acre plot of “quarry spoils.” To counter challenges of grading boulder- and dense aggregate-laden dirt, O&G crews used special anchor screws so panels could withstand 100-mph winds. Underground obstructions necessitated construction of a specialty junction box for medium voltage connections.

Project planning, engineering and permitting began in the fall of 2018. Preliminary construction commenced in mid-2019 with the site clearing, followed by racking and panel installation in October and formal power up earlier this year. O&G Power and Energy Division Engineering Manager Matt Tobin managed all aspects of the job, from contract signing to bringing the array online. Chief Counsel Paul Balavender, routinely involved in environmental initiatives across O&G, championed the project internally and assisted in overseeing contract execution.

The Southbury solar array will produce the energy equivalent necessary to power 150 homes. It is O&G Industries’ third such project in Connecticut, following rooftop installations at the Bridgeport mason supply showroom and fleet maintenance facility near Torrington headquarters. The arrays are among sustainability and energy saving initiatives the producer has undertaken in the past year. At New Milford and Stamford, it is upgrading burner controls, adding variable frequency fan drives, eliminating air leaks and insulating asphalt tanks and piping. When the upgrades are completed, the plants—the first two registered in an Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star asphalt pilot program—are expected to exhibit much greater energy efficiency than their present mode.

 

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Wind-derived power will reduce the Rapid City mill’s carbon dioxide emissions by about 50,000 metric tons annually, equivalent to taking 11,000 cars off the road.