Congressman Chris Smith was in Hamilton on Tuesday to celebrate the installation of a new 1.9 million, 5000 panel, solar power array at Ingersoll-Rand’s Trane Residential HVAC manufacturing facility.
The plant, which has been operational since the 1940’s ,employs almost 1200 people in two shifts. The new solar array will provide 15% of the facility’s electricity and is part of the company’s commitment to reduce their global greenhouse gas emissions by 35% by 2020.
“By investing in solar energy to power a portion of Trane’s operations—with the goal of reducing its operation’s greenhouse footprint by 35 percent by 2020—Ingersoll Rand not only ensures cleaner air for the great people who work here and for the people of Hamilton, Trenton and the region, but provides extraordinary corporate leadership in the ever-present challenge of sustainable environmental protection,” Smith said.
The Trane Residential HVAC plant is the fifth largest manufacturer in Mercer County, employing more than 1,100 people. The solar array at the plant, which includes 5,500 photovoltiac canopy and rooftop panels, is planned to generate 1.9 megawatts of electricity, and will be one of the largest photovoltaic systems in New Jersey.
The company expects to recoup the cost of construction over a four to five-year period. Smith spoke to nearly 1,200 employees and guests, and later toured the 449,000 square foot manufacturing facility.
The project is part of Ingersoll Rand’s Climate Commitment of 2014 to increase its energy efficiency and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions related to its operations and products, including a 35 percent reduction in the greenhouse gas footprint of its own operations by 2020. The company had solar installations built at three large manufacturing sites in the U.S. and China, including the Trenton facility.
Following the ribbon cutting ceremony Congressman Smith participated in a plant tour led by Keith Sultana, Ingersoll-Rand’s SVP of Global Operations and Integrated Supply Chain. Sultana said that he oversees all procurement for the company worldwide and that he has a $10 billion checkbook.
Smith took the opportunity to discuss the company’s anti-human trafficking efforts with Sultana, particularly in China, where slave labor and the exploitation of women is rampant throughout the industrial supply chain.
Sultana told the congressman that the company prohibits supplier’s use of forced and child labor, and that all suppliers globally must comply with the company’s Partner Code of Conduct and Human Rights Policy.