With a total investment of about $828,000 to convert to solar, the Master Paints factory will operate with a solar panel system capable of generating 278,000 kilowatts, or 3,000 more than the 275,000 the plant consumes yearly.
The ecologically friendly plant, which employs some 170 workers, is being touted by the Fortuño administration as the world’s first paint plant that is 100% self-sufficient, allowing it to completely eliminate its carbon footprint.
“After various weeks of successful testing, we officially start operating our manufacturing plant using solar power for 100% of our energy needs,” said Ricardo Cardona, president of Master Group. “We are proud our paints and sealants will be the first of their type in the world to be manufactured using renewable energy. We are also starting a new area in renewable-energy use in Puerto Rico.”
Solar energy completely eliminates dependency on oil for energy production at the plant, cutting the need to use about 185 barrels of oil every year.
The factory’s average kilowatt costs will be $4.35 versus an average of $6 for local industry, a fact that helped contribute to Master Products be awarded special grants from the Green Energy Fund and Rural Energy for America Program.
The plant’s location in southern Puerto Rico, which is very dry and mostly sunny throughout the year, also contributed to the grant being awarded to the project, with the initiative’s savings staying in the local economy.
Conservation of nature has been at the forefront of Master Product’s initiatives. The company has a recycling program that includes boxes and shipping pallets, and community involvement is also important.
“To our company, it is very important for our employees to be involved in efforts that help us become good corporate citizens and become as ecologically friendly in our operations as possible,” said Miguel Vergara, plant general manager of Master Paints Guayanilla.
“We have established a program called ‘Comité Sol’ [Sun Committee], that promotes conservation initiatives in our daily operations, which mainly come from ideas developed by our employees.”