Bayer unveils Berkeley’s largest solar installation

Bayer's newly unveiled solar installation provides energy as well as shade in its west Berkeley parking lot

Yesterday, Bayer Healthcare’s manufacturing facility in west Berkeley unveiled the city’s largest solar installation. Mayor Tom Bates cut the ribbon to the 1,000-panel installation which provides shading to Bayer’s parking lot, and was designed and installed by SolarCity.

At 295 kilowatts, the system is nearly three times as large as any other installation in the city and will help offset more than 10 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions over the next 20 years.

“Bayer has a global commitment to CO2 reduction,” Joerg Heidrich, SVP Product Supply Biotech and head of the Berkeley site said in a prepared statement. “We have learned that achieving these goals takes action on many fronts. Last year our water use declined by 14% over 2010, and solid waste was reduced by 20%. This new solar installation is one more step in our efforts and we look forward to working with the City of Berkeley to achieve our shared goals in climate protection.”

Berkeley is one of the top cities for solar installations per capita in the Bay Area. Read more about Berkeley’s Climate Action Plan which aims to reduce the city’s entire community’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80% below 2000 levels by 2050.

Want to be up to speed with what’s going on in Berkeley?  Click here to subscribe to Berkeleyside’s new-look Daily Briefing.

Print Friendly
Tagged ,
  • Chris

    Very cool!

    I noticed they are also putting in a playground and have signs up for a large childcare center – across from the sawtooth building. Anybody know whats up with this?

  • John Holland

    Kudos to Bayer on getting greener, but could they please stop killing honey bees?!

  • Bill

    Likewise kudos to Bayer.  It would be nice to see this east of the hills on some of the large distribution warehouses out that way.

  • MFox327

    What’s with all of these horrible tech industries destroying west Berkeley with their dirty, polluting, gigantic solar installations?? Wait a minute…

  • Chris

     Bayer doesn’t kill bees, people spraying their chemicals kill bees…

  • Loujudson

    Shading parking with solar panels is a great idea! Only sorry to see so little shading, so many cars soaking up the rays to burn their drivers at the end of the day. Really there is no reason on Earth that all parking – and all building roofs – could not be solar – that would eliminate a huge percentage of oil and gas burning! Why is humanity so stupid as to not have done that years ago? Oil lobbyists and corporate greed, that’s why.

    Good thing, Bayer, even considering your unhumane tendencies otherwise.

  • Loujudson

    Making the chemicals is the cause, they couldn’t be sprayed if they were not what they are.

  • Anonymous

     You have a curious definition of the word “cause”.

  • The Sharkey

    I like the solar and all, but why is so much space dedicated to a flat, one-level parking lot? Why not build a two-story garage so that less land would be wasted?

    Is this a zoning issue, or did Bayer just not want to deal with the costs of construction?

  • The Sharkey

    I like the solar and all, but why is so much space dedicated to a flat, one-level parking lot? Why not build a two-story garage so that less land would be wasted?

    Is this a zoning issue, or did Bayer just not want to deal with the costs of construction?

  • The Sharkey

    Really there is no reason on Earth that all parking – and all building
    roofs – could not be solar – that would eliminate a huge percentage of
    oil and gas burning! Why is humanity so stupid as to not have done that
    years ago? Oil lobbyists and corporate greed, that’s why.

    Far be it from me to stop you in your weird anti-business rant but it’s actually because, until recently when China started flooding the market with below-cost solar panels, solar equipment on that scale is extremely expensive.

  • The Sharkey

    Really there is no reason on Earth that all parking – and all building
    roofs – could not be solar – that would eliminate a huge percentage of
    oil and gas burning! Why is humanity so stupid as to not have done that
    years ago? Oil lobbyists and corporate greed, that’s why.

    Far be it from me to stop you in your weird anti-business rant but it’s actually because, until recently when China started flooding the market with below-cost solar panels, solar equipment on that scale is extremely expensive.

  • Biker 94703

    Also until very recently solar panels were expensive, inefficient and had a short-ish lifespan.  They’re still not great but they’re getting better. 

  • Biker 94703

    Land is cheap if you already own the land.  There is no point in building a parking garage unless they need to free up land to build something else.  Also if they build a parking garage they suffer the opportunity cost of not being able to build something else if they want/need to. 

  • Chris

     If Bayer didn’t make the chemicals, some other company would. Oh wait! Other companies are also making these chemicals…

    I’m all for banning these chemicals and would never use them myself. However, blaming Bayer for making a product that is legal and used by LOTS of people, is just silly.

  • Gus

    Bayer’s Berkeley plant only employs about 1,600 people, and they don’t all work the same shifts.They also have a Trip Reduction Program that has been pretty effective. So they don’t really need multi-level parking. In fact, they’re not even using all of their available parking; they continue to lease a chunk of Lot E at 8th and Dwight to the City for public parking, and they turned another chunk of it into a playground for their new childcare facility.

    But the City’s Development Agreement with Bayer requires a minimum number of spaces, so we get a bunch of empty asphalt on Bayer’s campus. Yet another example of the inefficiency of low-density land use in the urban core.

  • Anonymous

    Hey, at least they still aren’t making Zyklon B.

  • The Sharkey

    Thanks for the info, Gus!
    I was wondering why they paved over so much of the property for parking when most of it seems to go unused. Now I know why — The outdated West Berkeley zoning.

  • Gus

    In fairness, parking mandates aren’t unique to West Berkeley. They are, however, relics of auto-oriented urban planning and really need to be abandoned everywhere. Automobile parking should be uncommon and expensive.