In January 2017, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) began generating electricity from a 257.7 kilowatt ground-mounted solar array at its Vehicle Research Center in Ruckersville, VA.
The center conducts crash tests and other evaluations that encourage automobile manufactures to make safer vehicles.
The solar array will cover 34% of the power required to operate the facility, producing enough electricity to run 43 average American homes.
IIHS acquired its solar energy system at no upfront capital cost through a service agreement with Secure Futures. The company will retain ownership of the solar power system at IIHS, covering all operations and maintenance on site. The project was partially financed with a REAP grant from the US Department of Agriculture.
Generating its own power on site will help IIHS save thousands of dollars in electricity costs over the projected 35-year lifespan of the solar array. And using clean solar energy will cut 556,099 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per year. Over the life of the system, using clean power will keep the equivalent of 18,794 barrels of oil in the ground.
As Secure Futures’ first ground-mounted solar project, the south-facing array at IIHS maximizes the solar radiation received by the facility.
To further maximize energy production, Secure Futures used exclusively American-made equipment, ensuring high quality and durability along with good environmental and labor practices. Of the 678 solar panels installed at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 545 are SolarWorld 325 monocrystalline modules and 133 are SolarWorld 345 XL monocrystalline modules, all with a service lifespan on 35-45 years, and a 25-year warranty.
In November 2019, Secure Futures completed installation of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s second solar array. With the addition of the 207 kilowatt array, IIHS now has 465 kilowatts of solar panels on site. The 1,329 panels are projected to produce about 600,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity over its first year, which is enough energy to power 51 homes for a year.