Manheim, which manages 113 wholesale auto auctions across the country, flipped the switch on solar installations at two of its locations this month. The company installed a 170-kilowatt system at it's Manheim Baltimore-Washington auction and a 200-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system at it Nashville auction. The two projects combined will produce enough electricity to power 41 average-sized homes.
The projects will offset some of the greenhouse emissions prevalent at auto auctions, where thousands of cars and trucks travel through auction lanes every week. Each project will supply about a quarter of the energy used at each location, said David Munnikhuysen, the vice president of operational analytics for Manheim. “These are both pieces in a larger picture,” Munnikhuysen said.
The rooftop solar arrays were installed as part of parent company Cox Enterprises’ Cox Conserves initiative to cut energy use company-wide. Manheim auctions have been working on energy-efficiency projects, improving heating, ventilation, HVAC systems, lighting and water conservation measures. The company also switched from solvent to water-based paint at 16 of its locations, reducing green house gas emissions by 50 percent.
These two projects are just the most recent renewable energy endeavors for Manheim. “We have half a dozen solar installations in locations across the US where there are advantages and tax incentives,” Munnikhuysen said. And the auction company is looking to expand its solar portfolio in coming years. Munnikhuysen said Manheim will be looking for tax incentives and opportunities to take advantage of favorable business conditions for going solar at other locations. In addition to helping Manheim comply with Cox’s energy conservation goals, the solar arrays will save the auction company on their electricity bills.
The indoor facilities at Manheim auctions are generally rather small with a few offices, a cafeteria and restrooms for the car dealers that buy vehicles there. The auctions’ large acreages are usually dedicated primarily to parking for the cars dealers will buy and sell there. “We’re really limited by our rooftop space,” Munnikhuysen said. “We really cherish our blacktop and we don’t have a lot of roof for solar.”