Florence company uses new solar field to power facility

FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The OTIS Elevator facility in Florence will soon power a quarter of its 500,000 square-foot facility through 1.8 million kilowatts of solar-powered panels.

Jerry Jackson, the facility's operations executive, said the solar field means a cleaner environment for its employees and the community.

"So green energy, the way we look at it, it's a big deal for OTIS and the UTC umbrella," Jackson said. "We look at it as an opportunity to be able to take (care) of the planet, our community, our customers, our employees and our shareholders."

The facility is used to design, build and manufacture elevators installed in places worldwide. The solar field is an operation that's a part of the company's core value of sustainability.

"It allows us to be able to meet our sustainability target for the company, to be able to reduce greenhouse gases, so we're going to be able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent," Jackson said.

With the panels, the Florence facility will reach that target in three years, faster than the original five-year sustainability plan. In addition to saving energy, the solar field will also save on energy costs.

"Just locally in the Florence facility, that's a 25 percent savings for us on energy," Jackson said.

In the past three years, the facility has pushed out 5,700 elevators, all with the help of its 700 employees. Through his interactions with people outside his job, Jackson said he can see the OTIS Florence facility playing a major role in the growth of the community.

"They ask a lot of questions as far as what have we been able to do for the community as far as employing members of the communities," Jackson said. "The things that we do and the products that we provide definitely has been a big plus for the Florence area."

The solar field will go into operation later on this month.

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