Go Green: Bausch + Lomb Solar Panels

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Rochester, NY (WROC) - If you have driven by Bausch + Lomb's lens manufacturing facility on North Goodman recently, you may have noticed a very large project in the works.

The company has built a field of solar panels across 56 acres of land behind their plant.  It's one of the largest solar projects in our area.

"It's the right thing to do, not only for the company, but for the industry in Rochester as a whole," attests Amy Butler, Bausch + Lomb's Vice President of Sustainability.  "We've been looking for ways to expand our sustainability program within Bausch + Lomb, so this was the next obvious step for us to do, as we have this great piece of property to utilize, and we wanted to make sure we put it to it's best use."

It's a 1.12 megawatt project that will cover about 30% of the plant's energy needs.  To put it into perspective, it's enough to power about 175 homes; it's like taking 100 cars off the road for a year.  Instead of being put on buildings, these panels are on the ground.  It's a trend we'll likely see more of.

"The ground mounts work great.  There's also the brownfields; we do a lot of work with brownfields now," explains Advanced Solar Products Project's Manager, Martin Hirschhorn. "The land is not usable... now we put solar on the brownfields, and it makes it very usable land."

The project has been planned for more than a year, with its groundbreaking in August.  Since then, about 14 electricians each day have been putting the finishing touches on the solar array.  The hope is that it will be up and running by the beginning of November.

More than 100 new trees and plants are being planted in the area to replace the 32 trees that had to be taken out.  Some of those trees have found a new home, as carved sculptures in Bausch + Lomb's lobby.  They now serve as a constant reminder of the progress being made.

Butler says they viewed the project as an educational opportunity.  "We are working with not only the zoning and planning board of Rochester, but schools and the local community," she said.


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