When Next Hydraulics planned the design and construction of their second production plant in 2008, their goal was to make the building energy self-sufficient.
The company designs and manufactures mobile lifting equipment for the global market and is based in Boretto, Italy. As early adopters of clean power generation on an industrial site, they sought a system that could convert sunlight to usable electricity and offer some level of autonomy from the energy distributed through the grid.
The result was the installation of a photovoltaic (PV) system comprising 481 SunPower Maxeon rooftop solar panels. And according to the company, the system continues to produce a higher energy yield 14 years later than initially estimated.
Dependable solar panel performance over time
It had long been a priority of Next Hydraulics CEO Oreste Masetti to invest in clean energy and a system that would produce as much peak power as possible and dependable performance over time.
Like any industrial equipment, installing a PV system is a major investment and should deliver savings. Hence reliability and energy yield of solar panels are essential deciding factors.
To achieve their vision, Next Hydraulics engaged the services of Project Group, an expert in installing residential and industrial photovoltaic systems since 2006. A SunPower Premier Partner, Project Group has installed more than 400 industrial PV systems, attesting to the quality of SunPower Maxeon modules in the field.
Higher-than-expected energy outputs
At the Next Hydraulics production site, 481 SunPower Maxeon panels were installed on a surface area of 742 sqm. The system design took advantage of every available space in the roof pitches with southern exposure.
Using SunPower Maxeon modules allowed Project Group to install 108 kWp in total, about 30% more than the conventional technology available at the time, using the same space.
According to Next Hydraulics, the modules have produced an average of 1204 kWh/kWp in the last five years. This is higher than what the modules produced in their first years following installation. Not one single module has been replaced since the panels were installed in 2008.
Yearly output of the SunPower solar installation on Next Hydraulics rooftop over a decade.
Solar energy contributes to more predictable production costs
Minimal maintenance of the panels and a continuous power supply are critical to Next Hydraulics’ operations, which rely on automatic painting equipment running nonstop inside the production plant.
According to the company, the solar system benefits production for two reasons: it guarantees an autonomous energy supply for round-the-clock operations and using PV-generated energy allows for stable and predictable production costs.
For Next Hydraulics, the choice to invest in photovoltaics in 2008 was an economic and ecological decision. The constant solar power output over time has resulted in more significant payback from the panels and, therefore, reduced energy costs. And the move to clean energy generation aligns with the company’s vision to reduce its impact on the environment.