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Operating Efficiently: UPS Uses Photovoltaics To Offset Energy Consumption

UPS has an extra helper on hand when sorting packages in Palm Springs, California. The sun is now reporting for duty — producing energy for the company’s local 23,000 square-foot sorting facility. A 104.5 kilowatt solar panel array system installed on the rooftop uses photovoltaics, or the light from the sun, to generate 70 percent of the electricity needed at this facility.

Harnessing the sun’s rays has proved to be an efficient and effective power source for UPS. In fact, the solar panels have exceeded expectations by producing even more power than anticipated. Some 405,000 pounds of CO2 emissions have been eliminated since implementation in the summer of 2003.

Committed to Sustainability

As part of the company’s overall energy conservation and reduction strategy, UPS’s solar project investigates the viability of solar power in large commercial operations. The primary goal is to offset the energy consumed by the facility during its sorting operations. UPS’s solargenerated energy is provided back to the California power grid.

Because UPS’s sorting operations occur during the late evening or early morning hours when the sun isn’t shining, the panels cannot be used to power sorting operations directly. Therefore, the energy generated from the panels is fed into the grid during daylight hours, and UPS consumes energy from the grid during its sorting operations. This exchange, called “net metering,” allows UPS to achieve nearly zero kilowatt per hour consumption annually.

Testing Tomorrow’s Technologies Today

The Palm Springs facility is the testing ground for learning how to develop a center that produces and operates on clean, renewable energy in both its sorting and delivery operations.

UPS’s involvement in the solar project is just one way in which the company is looking to the future and exploring avenues for sustainable growth. Whether in its fleet or its facilities, UPS strives to operate at maximum efficiency to reduce natural resource consumption — a benefit both to the environment and the company’s bottom line.

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