WESCO International, Inc. (NYSE: WCC), a provider of electrical, industrial, and communications MRO and OEM products, construction materials, and advanced supply chain management and logistics services, together with Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (NYSE: STP), the world's largest producer of solar panels, recently completed a 625 kilowatt-peak (kWp)solar project for the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) in California.
Altogether, 2,272Suntech solar panels cover nearly one acre, comprising a 503kWp carport array and 26Kw parray on the roof of the CCCOE office in Pleasant Hill, California, as well as a 96kWp ground-mounted installation located at Lucille Mauzy School in Alamo, California. Over the next 25 years, the solar installation is expected to generate more than 15 million kilowatt-hours of electricity and to save the CCCOE millions of dollars in electricity costs. The CCCOE plays a leadership role in the delivery of quality education to more than 166,000 K-12 students in Contra Costa County.
"These installations will not only reduce our electricity bills, but will serve as a strong example for the local community and the students we serve about the importance of taking responsibility for our planet's future," said John F. Hild, Director, General Services of the Contra Costa County Office of Education. "In this case, the smart financial decision was also the right thing to do."
WESCO teamed with general contractor, Roebbelen Contracting, on the project that featured solar panels, inverters, and other installation components manufactured in the U.S. The installations were some of the first to use Suntech solar panels made in Goodyear, Arizona. The project also represents WESCO's first major project with Suntech, and now the two companies are working together on additional megawatts of installations in northern California, all with solar panels from Suntech's Arizona manufacturing facility.
As a full service distribution provider, WESCO sees solar as an important opportunity for future growth. "WESCO believes strongly in promoting clean sources of energy like solar power. Working with key partners like Suntech and Roebbelen Contracting on large scale solar projects furthers our commitment to becoming a leading national distributor of solar PV products providing clean energy solutions to our customers," said Jeff Stroin, WESCO Distribution's Regional Vice President.
Suntech's manufacturing facility in Goodyear, Arizona, features highly-automated manufacturing and product testing equipment and currently produces Suntech's 280W multicrystalline solar panels for commercial and utility-scale electricity generation. All modules produced at the facility are backed by an industry-leading 25-year power output warranty and are compliant for procurement in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) projects.
The 117,000 square foot manufacturing facility opened in October 2010 with 40 employees, and has expanded steadily since. Suntech Arizona just brought on a 3rd production shift, growing to about 107 employees, and remains on-target to employ 150 employees by the end of 2011.
"This is a great way to kick-off our partnership with WESCO, and we look forward to working together on several megawatts of solar installations this year," said Steve Chan, President of Suntech America. "It's rewarding to see our U.S.-manufactured products installed just down the road from our North America headquarters here in San Francisco. Over the last four years, our U.S. operations have grown from one person to now about 200 people. We're still just getting started, and projects like this will allow us to continue to grow."