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Garrod Hydraulics Inc., a specialist in hydraulic cylinder repair and hard chrome plating, recently completed installation of 205 kWH solar array consisting of 871 solar panels at its remanufacturing facility in York, Pa. “Because of our hard chrome plating process, electricity was our biggest utility bill,” said Wes Garrod, president and CEO. Prior to converting to solar power, the company’s electric bill averaged more than $10,000 per month. The company expects that bill to be reduced to $5,000 to $6,000 per month. “With electric rate caps expiring in January, that is substantial,” said Garrod. “We will be reducing our carbon footprint by about 4,425 tons of CO2 per year, which is roughly equivalent to 14,420,260 miles not driven or 75.9 acres of trees being planted.”
The $1.1 million project will be partially reimbursed through federal and state grants, leaving the company with about $400,000 in out-of-pocket expenses. However, by cashing in on Reserve Energy Credits, currently trading at about $360 each, and applying those funds to the company’s loan, Wes Garrod said he expects to pay for the solar panels in about two years. The company also considered windmills and diesel generators, but settled on solar as the solution primarily because of the grants available.
The endeavor is part of a broader company philosophy to minimize its impact on the environment. For example, previously, the company installed a three phase redundant containment system to prevent soil contamination from its operations. The system is not required by the EPA, but virtually eliminates the possibility of environmental contamination. In addition, using waste oil burners, the company utilizes a waste stream as a heat source to eliminate its waste water, thereby simultaneously eliminating two waste streams and the associated cost of propane purchases.
“Anytime we can reduce our impact on the environment and reduce our costs, it’s good for our customers and it’s good for business,” said Garrod.