Company using solar energy to power warehouses

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — A third party logistics provider is using the sun's energy to power some of its warehouses.

Interchange Group Inc. affixed around 4,700 solar panels to four of its warehouses — three in Harrisonburg and one in Front Royal — throughout last year.

"As we become a larger employer, we want to be somebody that's contributing to the quality of life here in Harrisonburg and long term sustainable energy, I think, is part of that," Kevin Longenecker, the company's chief financial officer, said.

The company may consider installing additional solar panels in the future.

"Certainly March has been great and initial feedback would be they're performing as expected," said Longenecker. "These are refrigerated and air-conditioned buildings. Cooling is a big thing. So in the heat of the summer, it will help us reduce our demand from the grid."

The panels can generate up to 1.6 megawatts of electricity, which would be enough to power around 160 homes, according to Secure Futures Solar, the company which handled the installation.

"I did expect solar to grow. I'm glad to see it's grown as far as it has," said Erik Curren, the chief marketing and business development officer.

Curren said the Interchange project was much larger than the company's first major installation at Eastern Mennonite University nearly a decade ago.

Secure Futures also worked with Augusta County Schools to introduce solar panels and will also work with schools in Richmond.

"Americans know that we need to address climate change," Curren said. "We've waited far too long to do that."