Ideal Energy – Solar Power Project – SVM
The Schaus-Vorhies companies are committed to pursuing and promoting the latest technological innovation to create better, more efficient, and more sustainable products and processes for our clients. Schaus-Vorhies Manufacturing (SVM) is no different. One of the best examples of this is the recent installation of our solar array.
For years, solar power has been a luxury investment, something you do because you have the spare cash, and you believe in promoting renewable resources in any way possible. It also didn’t generate enough energy to do more than power a few households. In recent years though, it has become clear that enough progress has been made to warrant a second look.
Our primary manufacturing facility in Iowa is large, handing a variety of different jobs. We make everything from custom fabricated buildings to ornamental railings. Naturally, like any other manufacturing facility, our energy needs are massive. It was not uncommon that our energy bills would be in the neighborhood of $8000 a month or more. While energy has been relatively cheap due to the boom in natural gas, it doesn’t take a professional analyst to realize that those lower prices aren’t going to last forever. Given the reduction in coal usage and the fact that natural gas plants are about the only major power plants being built in the United States, prices are bound to go up.
Realizing this, and coupled with the awareness that solar energy had made great strides in both cost reduction and efficiency, SVM decided to take a good hard look at how solar energy could benefit us. Now, it powers our entire manufacturing facility.
We chose to work with Ideal Energy for this Solar Power project. Ideal energy is another Iowa based company dedicated to helping its clients get the best and most sustainable results at the lowest cost possible. Together, we identified a portion of unused land owned by SVM and put it to work. That formerly unused and unproductive chunk of contaminated farmland in Fairfield, Iowa, is now home to the most significant private solar array in the entire state. It generates 500Kw of power, meeting all the needs of the manufacturing plant, and even feeds energy back into the grid for most of the year.
Naturally, one might wonder if it is genuinely cost-effective in light of the high price of installation associated with solar power. It’s a fair question given that before recent breakthroughs in solar technology, it was not uncommon for a solar panel to take 25 years to pay for itself. That understandably made solar power a tough sell for anyone who had to worry about the bottom line. That, however, is in the past. Now, thanks to leaders in the field like Ideal Energy, the initial purchase and installation cost of even a large solar power array has come down so much that SVM can expect it to have paid for itself within five to six years. Given that the installation was completed in 2016, the time is coming soon that we at SVM can expect a net return our investment, a return that will continue to increase for as long as the sun keeps shining.
There are other benefits to having a self-sustaining source of power as well. In light of recent developments, it has become clear that various sectors of the American economy are vulnerable, particularly anything that involves the shipment of resources from overseas, or even over great distances within the country. The sun is always there, shining overhead and doesn’t need a train, a ship, or a pipeline to bring it to our manufacturing plant. No matter what happens, whether it’s a global pandemic, a trade war, or an accident at the local power plant, SVM can stay up and running through it all.
One other benefit is that by using the sun to generate all of our electricity, SVM has dramatically reduced its carbon footprint. We use far fewer fossil fuel, and so reducing the need for additional power plants to meet increasing demand. In the end, it means that we get to breathe far cleaner air, which will lead to longer and healthier lives for many, not just the employees of SVM.
Our partnership with Ideal Energy in building our self-sustaining and environmentally friendly solar power array is just one way that SVM works to create a better world. This commitment extends far beyond our bottom line. We desire to improve the lives of our employees and our clients as well, and that helps all of us.