Bendix Solar Installation earns 2022 Indiana Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence

Bendix Solar Installation earns 2022 Indiana Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence

The Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems manufacturing operation in Huntington, Indiana, has earned another high-profile recognition–this one from its own home state. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) chose the Bendix solar project to receive the 2022 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence in the category of Energy Efficiency/Renewable Resources.

Bendix accepted the award on Sept. 21 at a ceremony in Indianapolis, Indiana. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Energy named the Bendix solar effort a 2022 Better Project Award winner in the department’s Better Plants program.

The annual Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence administered by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management are Indiana’s most prestigious environmental recognition awards. They are reserved for the most innovative, sustainable, and exemplary programs or projects that positively impact the state’s environment and demonstrate measurable environmental, economic, and social benefits. The selection process is highly competitive, and only one award in each of the seven categories is chosen.

The Energy Efficiency/Renewable Resources category of the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence is for projects or programs that prevent pollution by either reducing energy use or by producing energy using zero- or very-low-emission technologies. It includes efforts to significantly increase the energy efficiency of buildings or equipment, the use of environmentally benign energy production technologies, and/or the use of innovative technologies that will reduce dependence upon energy sources that generate high emissions.

“The solar array is Bendix’s first, and it produces electricity through 2,612 450-watt panels,” said Bill Schubert, Bendix corporate manager, environmental and sustainability. “During normal hours of operation at the plant, the facility will use all the energy generated. But during nonworking hours like weekends and holidays, Bendix will be able to send excess energy back to the electrical grid. This process will increase the utility’s green energy and reduce Bendix’s utility costs.”

Indianapolis-based PSG Energy Group managed construction of the array. When completed, the array was the largest on-site solar installation in Huntington County. At full capacity, the solar project produces 1.5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, delivering an estimated $140,000 in electric utility savings yearly.

With the Huntington installation, Bendix expects to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in line with its long-term sustainability goals. Key among them is the 2020 commitment by Bendix and Knorr-Bremse to cut CO2 emissions in half by 2030. Additionally, in 2021, Knorr-Bremse ramped up efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by maximizing renewable energy purchases and offsetting energy use. Toward that end, over the past two years, the company has significantly exceeded its climate target of reducing CO2 emissions by 4.2% each year.

The next sustainability milestone for Bendix is nearing: the installation of two solar arrays at the Acuña, Mexico, manufacturing campus – each generating 1,000 megawatt-hours of electricity annually and reducing the campus CO2 emissions from the 2018 baseline by 13%. This project is on track to be on-line in 2023.

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