At GoMacro’s HQ in Viola, Wisconsin, the summer sunshine powers more than just sunny days, bike rides, and a bountiful harvest at our family farm; it also helps power our facility!
Since our founding, we’ve been committed to protecting the environment as our business grows. We envisioned building a manufacturing facility that ran on 100% renewable energy and set the standard when it came to waste reduction and sustainability. Four years ago, that vision started coming to life in new ways as we prepared to install solar panels on our new facility. Now, four years later, solar power continues to supply a significant portion of the energy used at our facility annually!
Our Journey to Solar Power
We successfully installed 844 solar panels (each 3-feet wide and 6-feet-long) on the roof of our new building in October 2018 with the help of our friends at Ethos Green Power, a woman-owned, local Wisconsin solar company, along with a team of contractors, installers, and electricians.
The solar energy system quickly became the foundation of our architectural plan, with the rest of the project taking shape around it. We strategically built the roof with a 7-degree, south-facing slope in order to maximize the sun exposure throughout the year.
While the work was slightly more than we anticipated, our company, planet, and community continue to reap the benefits of our commitment to 100% renewable energy. In 2020, our solar panels generated 319,910 kilowatt hours (kWh), which is 32.6% of the energy needed to power our facility.
That means our solar panels alone offset about 227 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2020, which is equivalent to taking 49 cars off the road for one year.
Supporting Our Local Community
Before our solar panel installation, GoMacro was buying and using 10% of Viola’s energy. In order to protect the town we call home, our team worked hand-in-hand with local leadership to develop a solution. GoMacro now gives the excess power we generate to the city of Viola at a wholesale price, thus supplying clean energy to our local community. In fact, in 2020, we donated 57,560 kWh of solar energy back to the grid.
Clean Energy - Even on Cloudy Days
As hard as our solar panels work, cloudy days and dark nights are inevitable. In order to achieve our goal of 100% renewable energy, we supplement our solar power with wind energy purchased from local and regional wind farms. In 2020, we purchased 661,340 kWh of wind energy via renewable energy credits to make up the remaining 67.4% of our power usage.
Throughout this process, we partnered with our local government to build the infrastructure the city needed to receive energy from the wind farms and from the solar array. In 2020, we took things a step further and began covering the additional costs associated with purchasing wind energy for the entire city of Viola. This means that all homes, businesses, and schools in town are now powered by 100% renewable energy – at no additional cost to residents.
“With the infrastructure in place for our needs, we saw an opportunity to reach beyond the walls of our facility and make wind power available to everyone in the community that we’re proud to call home,” said Jola Sonkin, Co-Founder, and CEO of GoMacro.
Thanks to the successful conversion to 100% renewable energy, GoMacro is also a part of the EPA's Green Power Partnership, a program that recognizes and supports the environmental leadership of businesses and communities across the country.
"EPA applauds GoMacro for its commitment to using green power and for taking a leadership position on the environment," said James Critchfield, Program Manager of EPA's Green Power Partnership. "GoMacro is helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provides an excellent example for other businesses to invest in environmental progress."
Striving to Make a Positive Impact
We’re so thankful for our team and our partners that have made this initiative a success! While we’re incredibly proud of the progress we’ve made with solar energy, we’re always striving to find ways to further reduce our carbon footprint. We’re in the process of expanding our facilities in Viola, and our impact on the planet is a key consideration at every step of the journey. We hope that our green energy initiatives inspire other businesses and individuals to find creative ways to live more sustainably.
To learn more about our current sustainability initiatives, see our 2020 Sustainability Report.