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Special event recognizes completion of solar array atop Sunbrella Yarn Manufacturing Center

The completion of a solar array atop Glen Raven's Sunbrella Yarn Manufacturing Center in Norlina, N.C., was recognized during a special event at the plant earlier this month.

The new 500-kilowatt solar array is the largest under Progress Energy's SunSense Commercial Solar PV (photovoltaic) program, generating electric power roughly equivalent to the annual electricity usage of 47 typical homes.

Speakers during the special event included Allen E. Gant, Jr., president and CEO of Glen Raven; Robert F. Caldwell, vice president, efficiency and innovative technology for Progress Energy; Erik Lensch, president of Argand Energy Solutions; John Gant, manager of sustainable development for Glen Raven Custom Fabrics; and Todd Wemyss, manager of the Norlina Plant.

"The Norlina solar project is part of a much larger sustainability initiative that is affecting everything we do, from product design and manufacturing through recycling and customer service," Allen Gant said. "The successful completion of this project is a reflection of the talent and dedication of our associates and the invaluable contributions from our partners, Progress Energy and Argand Energy Solutions."

This $3 million project was made possible by Progress Energy's SunSense Commercial Solar PV program, designed to encourage the development of renewable energy by offering a premium price for solar power developed on commercial rooftops.

The solar array that Argand installed on the Norlina Plant, which was added in conjunction with a roof replacement project, represents some of the newest solar technology on the market today. These arrays weigh only three pounds per square foot and are easy to install. Because air flows through open-design modules, the arrays are self-ballasting and do not require anchors drilled into the roof, yet can withstand winds up to 130 miles per hour.

The productivity of Norlina's solar panels is enhanced by its new ultra-white cool roof. While conventional solar panels collect energy only from the surface facing the sun, Norlina's arrays are tube-like and collect solar energy from sunlight coming from 360 degrees, including roof reflections.

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