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Acme-McCrary Dyeing Operation Supported By New Solar Energy System

Acme-McCrary Corp., Asheboro, N.C., has installed a solar thermal energy system at its Pritchard St. hosiery plant in Asheboro to heat water for its hosiery and seamless apparel dyeing operation. According to the company, the system — which comprises 200 solar panels manufactured by Jacksonville, Fla.-based Alternate Energy Technologies (AET) and installed by FLS Energy, Asheville, N.C. — will generate 10,000 gallons of hot water a day at temperatures up to 180°F, and will reduce Acme-McCrary's carbon emissions by 249,000 pounds annually. The system also includes two 10,000-gallon tanks to store hot water for use when the sun is not shining. The company reports the system is believed to be the largest such installation in the United States for industrial and manufacturing applications.

FLS Energy designed and installed the system at no cost to Acme-McCrary and is selling the energy generated to the company at a price lower than the cost of fossil fuel, reducing Acme-McCrary's energy costs by more than $20,000 per year.

The North Carolina State Energy Office's ARRA Renewable Energy Grant program provided partial funding for the project.

Acme-McCrary, a supplier of product to Walmart and a member of Walmart's Sustainability Council, initiated the project in response to sustainability requirements that Walmart has instituted for its vendors.

January/February 2011