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New Solar Farm Helping to Power 3M Corona in California

Wednesday, June 5, 2019 1:36 pm CDT

On a hill above the 3M Corona plant, a new 1MW solar farm tracks with the California sunshine. The panels provide 20% of the plant's total energy. 3M Corona will also be able to sell back excess power to the grid during peak times.

The new solar array is helping to advance 3M's goal of providing 50% of the company's total electricity from renewable sources in operations across 70 countries by 2025, and a 100% goal by 2050.

3M has been manufacturing colored roofing granules for the asphalt shingle industry in Corona for over 70 years, including the innovative Smog-reducing and Cooling roofing granules that reduce pollution and improve public health.

"Although a lot has changed over the past 70 years, one thing that remains consistent is 3M Corona's commitment to advancing Sustainability and continually improving our operations and products," said 3M Corona Plant Manager Angie Byars. ​

​The 1MW solar system will produce 2.6 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year. How much is that?

  • A megawatt is enough to supply power to about 750 homes.
  • It's the equivalent of reducing the amount of CO2 generated by 4.6 million miles driven.
  • It's equivalent to the carbon stored by 1,494 acres of U.S. forests in one year​

3M Corona draws from Southern California Edison (SCE) as its electricity provider. About 28% of SCE's electricity comes from renewable sources. With the contribution of sending excess solar power back to the grid, 3M is contributing to SCE's proportion of electricity coming from renewables.

Committing to 100% renewable energy is part of 3M's strategic focus on science for climate with the aspiration to innovate to decarbonize industry, accelerate global climate solutions and improve the company's environmental footprint.

3M Corona held an event to celebrate flipping the switch on the new solar installation with employees, customers, California government and business leaders and non-profit partners.

"We know technology companies like ours play a critical role in solving shared global challenges. But no company or organization can do it alone. We collaborate on solutions with our customers, governments, and in the communities where we operate," said 3M Sustainability Director Maureen Tholen.

3M is continuing to invest in learning more about how science applied to roofing granules can help improve the climate in California and beyond.

3M designed the granules with a photocatalytic coating, activated by the sun's UV rays, that transforms the smoggy air into water-soluble ions that wash away safely.

"We view smog-reducing technology, embedded into mainstream roofing materials, as a great step forward in addressing air quality and climate concerns," said Jonathan Parfrey, founder and executive director of non-profit Climate Resolve in Los Angeles.

Sustainability is at the heart of 3M. It drives our innovation in manufacturing, products and new technologies – and we're always trying to do more. Learn more about 3M Sustainability at www.3m.com/sustainability​.

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