Boeing and South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) have announced an energy partnership that will enable Boeing South Carolina to operate under 100% renewable energy, including 20% generated with an on-site solar farm to power the 787's production facilities in North Charleston.

SCE&G will own, install and maintain thin-film solar laminate panels covering the roof of the new 787 final assembly line, providing up to 2.6 megawatts of electrical power, the equivalent of powering 250 homes, says Boeing.

"Our 787 Dreamliner is manufactured using fewer hazardous materials and designed to consume less fuel, and produce fewer emissions. It only makes sense that our business operations in South Carolina reflect the environmental progressiveness of the airplane we'll build here," says Jim Albaugh, Boeing Commerial Airplanes president and CEO.

Boeing South Carolina Solar

 © Boeing

The installation will make the facility the largest solar farm in the southeastern US by production capacity and the sixth largest in the US, says the airframer, who began expanding its presence in North Charleston beginning in March 2008 with the 50% acquisition of the formerly named Global Aeronautica facility responsible for integrating the 787's majority composite centre fuselage.

That expansion later grew to acquiring nearby Vought Aircraft Industries aft fuselage fabrication operation in July 2009, followed by the announcement of the second 787 line in October 2009, and lastly the acquisition of the final 50% of Global Aeronautica owned by Alenia Aeronautica in December 2009.

The remaining 80% of the power for the airframer's growing South Carolina industrial cluster will be provided by biomass energy, created through the burning of shrub and tree waste.

Boeing plans to begin final assembly operations at the South Carolina facility in July, ramping up to three aircraft per month as part of the company's overall ramp up to 10 787s per month by the end of 2013.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news