Sunbrella plant to add solar panels

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Glen Raven Inc. has started to build a solar energy installation on the roof of its Sunbrella Yarn Manufacturing Center in Norlina, N.C.

The solar array will be the largest under Progress Energy’s SunSense Commercial PV, or photovoltaic program, generating electric power roughly equivalent to the annual electricity usage of 47 typical homes, according to the company.

The $3 million project includes replacing the plant’s 175,000-square-foot roof with a highly reflective white roof that will not only enhance the performance of solar panels, but also improve cooling inside the plant. Completion is expected this fall.

“This project demonstrates how a well-designed environmental program can have multiple benefits,” Leib Oehmig, president of Glen Raven Custom Fabrics, the Glen Raven subsidiary that operates the plant and makes and markets Sunbrella fabrics for awning, furniture and marine applications, said in a statement.

“When this project is completed, our plant will have an energy-efficient roof hosting a solar system that will also serve as a long-term provider of renewable electricity to Progress Energy and its customers,” he added.

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