Inovateus Solar, a solar developer for utilities, municipalities, education and commercial industries, has released its second annual sustainability report, detailing recent benchmarks and goals for more sustainable operations.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Inovateus implemented its sustainability goals during a near-record year of solar project capacity under contract or reaching commercial operation. Since 2008, the company has developed and constructed over 500 MWdc of solar energy in over 20 states, including the Caribbean.
With the company’s recently announced joint venture with Hoosier Solar Holdings and the launch of Brilliant Capital, a new project finance entity, Inovateus expects to reach its goal of developing or building one gigawatt of solar by 2025.
As outlined in its first sustainability report, Inovateus is measuring its carbon footprint by crafting the best environmental practices for protecting and preserving the land during solar construction. These practices include zero-waste construction, planting bee and butterfly ground cover, designing and engineering projects to use the least amount of land and equipment by optimizing power and planning for end of life and decommissioning of projects.
The highlights of Inovateus Solar’s second annual sustainability report include the following milestones:
Achieve carbon neutrality: For the company’s goal of net-zero energy operations by 2025, Inovateus has conducted an audit of its operations and is now researching ways to be 100% carbon neutral in the next three years.
Zero waste construction. For its goal of zero-waste solar construction, Inovateus has sorted and recycled, reused, or repurposed a total of 67.5 tons of wood, cardboard, metal, and plastic construction materials. Typically, these materials are sent to landfills. The report also sets a goal of having 75% or more of all construction sites and subcontractors practicing the company’s zero-waste construction practices by 2025.
Pollinator-friendly ground cover: Instead of planting traditional grass that requires consistent mowing, watering and treatment, the Inovateus team has planted or developed a total of 182.75 acres of eco-friendly bee & butterfly pollinator seeds under their 2019 and 2020 solar projects. This latest sustainability report sets a goal of having 50% of its solar-developed acres planted with pollinator habitat by 2025.
Solar module recycling: A solar project’s modules can become damaged during shipping or from natural disasters, such as tornadoes and hailstorms. Rather than sending damaged solar panels to landfills, Inovateus has recycled over 100 modules with a regional recycler.
Procurement and planning for end-of-life: Inovateus’ mission is to Build a Brilliant Tomorrow, and the company is always thinking about a project’s future environmental impact. Consequently, Inovateus’ Director of Procurement, Jefferson Gerwig, received a Green Purchasing Procurement Certification. This certification will help Inovateus to evaluate the ethical sourcing and carbon footprint of equipment manufacturers and to procure the most sustainable and ethically sourced solar equipment available.
Sustainable solar design and engineering: Inovateus designers and engineers are increasingly designing and engineering projects with higher efficacy modules and single-axis tracking systems in order to use the least amount of land, wiring, and equipment.
“Despite the pandemic, 2020 was a great year for Inovateus. Our second annual sustainability report shows that we can build and develop utility and large-scale solar projects sustainably and profitably,” said Tyler Kanczuzewski, Inovateus’ VP of marketing and sustainability. “Of course, we’re constantly improving our methods and metrics. One day in the near future, we hope to be the first solar developer to build a solar project that is truly 100% cradle-to-grave recyclable with zero-waste decommissioning and net-zero emissions over its 30-year lifetime.”