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Building Products Giant USG Goes Solar In CA

Green Light PV array

A Green Light PV array. Courtesy Green Light.USG Corp. will soon be going solar at its Plaster City, Calif., plant through a power-purchase agreement (PPA) with Green Light Plaster City Solar 1 (GLPCS1). The building materials giant will take advantage of a 1 megawatt PV plant installed on its campus by Green Light Energy Corp and engineering firm ZGlobal. The project began in September and is slated for completion in December.


USG is one of the largest building and remodeling supply companies, prividing drywall, ceiling panels and flooring, amongst other products for both homes and businesses. As such, it only makes sense that the company would turn to the sun for production of some of its building materials, particularly as grid-supplied electric prices are anticipated to raise. “The 1 megawatt photovoltaic system will provide USG with predictable costs for the portion of electricity supplied by the PV system for the next 20 years,” a spokesperson for the company said.

"We are always looking for opportunities for our plants to use solar energy, and it made a lot of sense to move forward with this renewable energy investment at our manufacturing plant in Plaster City," added Al Zucco, Senior Director, Energy and Sustainability, USG. "This is an exciting project that demonstrates USG's environmental stewardship and commitment to maintain environmentally-friendly operations."

This solar farm is part of an effort by Green Light and ZGlobal to provide solar and renewable energy in California’s Imperial Valley and elsewhere. USG currently gets its power from the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) and its electric rates are expected to increase.  The PPA will allow USG to maintain predictable energy pricing and is expected to save the company more than $1 million in energy costs over the 20 year agreement.

"We at ZGlobal are delighted to be working with GLPCS1 and USG to bring this distributed generation solar project online," stated Ziad Alaywan, ZGlobal's President. "This project is an example of how well environmental sustainability balances with opportunities to reduce rising energy costs."

While this may be the first USG plant to use solar to directly manufacture its products, the company has been active in sustainability practices for quite some time. The company was a founding member of the US Green Building Council (USGBC), which developed the popular Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) program.

“Before environmental stewardship became a mainstream issue, we were concerned about how to reduce or reuse waste, use resources more efficiently and transform manufacturing byproducts into valuable resources,” Zucco said.

USG also participates in a number of other sustainability programs and is focused on reducing waste in the shipping and packaging processes, amongst other iniatitives.

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