BMW Manufacturing’s Solar-Powered Museum

The BMW Manufacturing facility in Spartanburg, SC, is a bit atypical for a factory.

The BMW Manufacturing facility in Spartanburg, SC, is a bit atypical for a factory. Not only are they producing the X3, X5, and X6 vehicles in the assembly plant, but they also operate the Zentrum Museum, a 24,000-sq. ft. facility that serves as a visitor center and, well, museum. While other factories once included places where people could learn more about the cars that were being built there, economic dictates have made it such that the lobbies of many plants simply have a few chairs and a lonely telephone and extension list.

But at BMW Manufacturing, the Zentrum Museum is a sight to behold.

And it is becoming a greener place, as well.

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They’ve installed 400 solar modules, each capable of producing 240 watts of electricity to power the Zentrum Museum. What’s more, they’ve added three electric vehicle charging stations on the grounds of the plant that are also being powered by the $500,000 solar array.

BMW Manufacturing is no stranger to alternative energy: It has been collecting methane gas from a local landfill and using it to provide power for more than 50% of the plant’s total energy requirements since 2003. It is worth noting that in 2009 BMW invested $12-million in this landfill gas program to up the efficiency of the operation. While that might seem as though that was quite an expense for being more green, the company has determined that it is saving about $5-million per year in energy costs as a result of that investment.

Possibly that ROI makes things like the Zentrum Museum possible.

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