Aiken County is the site of Bridgestone Americas’ first ground solar array that is providing power directly to a manufacturing process.
The collection of multiple solar panels is located at the company’s passenger/light truck tire plant in Graniteville.
According to a March 2 news release, the new installation has approximately 8 acres of solar panels.
They “generate two megawatts of energy while reducing 1,400 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions annually, equivalent to the annual electricity use of more than 200 homes,” the release stated.
“At Bridgestone, sustainability is core to our business and integrated into every level of our operation,” said Paolo Ferrari, president and chief executive officer of Bridgestone Americas, in a prepared statement. “Our global sustainability framework includes important goals in reducing CO2 emissions by 50% by 2030, as we strive toward our long-term environmental target of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. This solar array is another positive step in Bridgestone’s journey to contribute to a more sustainable and equitable society for all.”
Ferrari also is the executive vice president and executive officer for the Bridgestone Corporation.
The release also included comments by Jim DeMouy, vice president of environment, health, safety and sustainability for Bridgestone Americas.
“Renewable energy has many benefits for the environment and Bridgestone, most notably the reduction in CO2 emissions and reduced energy costs,” he said. “Bridgestone is grateful for the support of state and local leaders and community partners who worked with us to make this solar array a reality.”
A representative of the public relations firm that sent out the Bridgestone release told the Aiken Standard he didn’t know how much the solar array in Graniteville would reduce Bridgestone’s energy costs annually.
The figure “is not available at this time,” he said.
The passenger/light truck tire plant sends “zero operations waste” to landfills, which is consistent with a commitment by Bridgestone to protect the environment, the release stated.
The facility has been LEED-certified by the United States Green Building Council.
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
The Wildlife Habitat Council also has certified the passenger/light truck tire plant’s wildlife habitat program, according to the release.
In addition, the Bridgestone Environmental Education Program provides a variety of learning opportunities locally.
In 2018, the passenger/light truck tire plant was accepted into the South Carolina Environmental Excellence Program because of its efforts to promote environmental protection.
More recently, the facility partnered with Clemson University, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to utilize its solar array as a pilot location in a project.
That effort involves the development of sustainable ground covers using native South Carolina plants.
Such low-maintenance, biodiverse vegetation could be used to beautify the various areas where solar arrays have been installed in the Palmetto State.
Bridgestone has operated the passenger/light truck tire plant in Graniteville since 1998.
There also is a Bridgestone facility nearby that produces large and ultra-large off-road radial tires.
Bridgestone Americas is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Bridgestone Corporation.