Acme-McCrary Corp., Asheboro, N.C. — a manufacturer of private-label women’s legwear and seamless
activewear — 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.
Under a solar thermal Power Purchasing Agreement, FLS Energy designed and installed the
system at no cost to Acme-McCrary and instead is selling the thermal energy generated to the
company at a price lower than the cost of fossil fuel, thus lowering Acme-McCrary’s energy costs by
more than $20,000 per year.
In addition, the project received partial funding from the North Carolina State Energy Office
under its ARRA Renewable Energy Grant program.
“The installation of these next-generation solar panels represents a partnership between our
state’s textile sector and emerging clean energy sector,” said Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., who spoke to
guests invited to the plant Tuesday to celebrate the project’s completion and tour the facility.
“In North Carolina, we are creating an innovative path forward to create jobs and compete in
today’s global economy.” Thanks in part to Hagan’s efforts, North Carolina became the first state
in the Southeast to mandate that utilities use renewable energy.
The project was initiated in response to sustainability requirements that Walmart, an
Acme-McCrary customer, has imposed on its vendors. Because of Acme-McCrary’s sustainability
initiatives, Walmart invited the company to join its Sustainability Council in 2010.
Duke Energy Carolinas is purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates generated by the solar
thermal energy system, which enables favorable pricing of the energy compared to conventional
Acme-McCrary produces more than 110,000 dozen pairs of hosiery and 96,000 seamless garments
per week at its five manufacturing facilities, located in Asheboro; Siler City, N.C.; and Honduras.
January 18, 2011