News releases this morning announce some major investments in use of solar power by L’Oreal, the cosmetics maker, with a company headed by Bill Halter, the former lieutenant governor.
According to the releases, Scenic Hall Solar, whose CEO is Halter, has partnered with L’Oreal USA to develop “large-scale commercial solar projects” at its facilities in North Little Rock and Florence, Ky.
“Scenic Hill Solar has partnered with L’Oréal USA to develop a 1.5 Megawatt DC solar power plant at L’Oréal USA’s Florence, Kentucky manufacturing facility, making it Kentucky’s largest commercial solar array,” said Bill Halter, CEO of Scenic Hill Solar. “At L’Oréal USA’s North Little Rock, Arkansas manufacturing facility, Scenic Hill Solar will develop a 1.2 Megawatt DC solar power plant, making it Arkansas’s third largest commercial solar array and the state’s fourth largest solar project.”
The Florence, Kentucky solar array will utilize approximately 5,000 solar panels mounted on the manufacturing facility’s roof. The North Little Rock, Arkansas solar array will utilize approximately 4,000 solar panels mounted on single-axis tracking systems and will extend over 8 acres of land adjacent to L’Oréal’s manufacturing facility. These solar power arrays together with other announced initiatives will help L’Oréal in its plan to utilize 100 percent renewable electricity in its United States manufacturing facilities.
“When we set out to achieve our sustainability goals, we knew we needed to find a good partner on the ground to help us carry out these projects.” said Richard Jones, Head of Manufacturing for L’Oreal USA. “Scenic Hill has been fantastic throughout the process and we’re proud to be working with them.”
Construction of both solar projects is set to begin in late 2016 and both are expected to be operational by mid-2017. Each site will create 25 new construction jobs for an average of four months in duration in both Arkansas and Kentucky. Together these two solar power plants will produce over 107 million kilowatt-hours of electricity over the next 30 years and lower L’Oreal USA’s carbon emissions by over 75,000 tons.
“These solar power projects are great examples that companies can both reduce their energy costs and operate sustainably,” said Halter. “L’Oréal USA will benefit from lower energy costs, long-term energy price certainty, and meeting its compelling sustainability goals. We commend our partner L’Oréal on their demonstrated, powerful leadership in sustainability.”
The release describes Solar Hill, headquartered in Little Rock, as a company that delivers clean electricity at lower prices. It says the deal in North Little Rock will, for example, lock in electricity prices for 30 years while producing a significant reduction in carbon emissions. L’Oreal has operated in Arkansas for 40 years, making cosmetics for brands including Maybelline, L’Oréal Paris, Essie and Lancôme.
Kyle Massey of Arkansas Business talked to Halter about the project.
L’Oreal also issued a news release:
NEW YORK, September 20, 2016 – L’Oréal USA today announced it will exceed its carbon emission reduction goals and build two large-scale solar projects at the company’s manufacturing facilities in North Little Rock, Arkansas and Florence, Kentucky as part of its global sustainability strategy Sharing Beauty with All.
The two projects – among the largest in each state – represent an acceleration of the company’s original goals to reduce its CO2 emissions by 60 percent from its 2005 baseline. L’Oréal USA will achieve an 80 percent reduction, and plans to achieve 100 percent renewable electricity for its manufacturing in the United States through the projects and the purchase of additional, locally-sourced renewable energy certificates (RECs). The project in Florence will be the largest commercial solar array in Kentucky and the project in North Little Rock will be the third largest commercial array in Arkansas.
“Reducing our CO2 emissions by 80% and achieving 100% renewable electricity for our U.S. manufacturing is a major milestone for L’Oréal USA,” said Fréderic Rozé, CEO of L’Oréal Americas. “The achievement is a testament to our passionate, creative and innovative teams who have pushed us to go beyond our original ambitions. We are committed to being a sustainability leader in the United States and are proud of the progress we have made.”
The Florence plant, in partnership with Scenic Hill Solar, will house the largest commercial solar array in Kentucky at 1.5 MW. Construction of the Florence project will start in late 2016 and will consist of approximately 5,000 solar panels. The array is projected to cut CO2 emissions in Kentucky by approximately 1,195 metric tons per year, equivalent to eliminating over 2.8 million miles traveled by passenger cars per year, according to EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies.
The 687,000 sq. ft. plant, where haircare products are made for the Garnier, L’Oréal Paris, Matrix, and Redken brands, is the company’s largest manufacturing site in the U.S. and its largest worldwide by tonnage of products produced. L’Oréal USA has been operational in Kentucky for more than 25 years and now has over 400 employees.
“With this project, our facility becomes an emblem of sustainable manufacturing” said Eric Wolff, L’Oréal’s Florence Plant Manager. “We’re proud to be leading the way for commercial renewable energies in Kentucky.”