State Senator Saud Anwar (D-South Windsor) joined Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Katie Dykes and USA Hauling and Recycling President Frank Antonacci for the grand opening of the company’s solar-powered natural gas fueling station, which it believes to be the first in the nation. Representatives from Earthlight Technologies, Clean Energy and J.R. Russo and Associates joined to commemorate the opening.
“Today, USA Hauling and Recycling made history. I want to congratulate Frank Antonacci and the Antonacci family, the town of East Windsor, Earthlight, Clean Energy and Capital Cities of Connecticut in their efforts to create the first natural gas fueling station powered by solar in the nation,” said Sen. Anwar. “USA Hauling provides waste hauling and recycling across most parts of our state and we can take pride in the face that this organization’s trucks are far more energy-efficient with a lower carbon footprint and impact on our environment. I hope this project will be looked at as a model for others to follow in the country to continue to reduce our carbon footprint nationwide. I am honored that some of the bills we have worked on in the Senate have ensured such projects can continue, flourish and become financially viable and sustainable while protecting our environment. I also want to thank Commissioner Dykes for her leadership, as DEEP has been instrumental to make sure waste management and energy consumption as well as public health and environmental safety remain important in our state.”
“USA Hauling and Recycling is proving out such an important model for businesses in the state of Connecticut,” said Commissioner Dykes. “We know, at the Department, that this project sits at the intersection of our highest environmental and climate priorities, from waste management to renewable energy deployment and greening transportation. It presents a model we hope many others follow.”
“Like most solutions, simple solutions are the best,” said Antonacci. “In our industry, with mostly diesel-powered vehicles, we saw an opportunity to do things better. Seven years ago, we committed as a company and a family to create the cleanest waste recycling fleet in the country. Ultimately, after much research, we decided to move to a fleet powered by natural gas. Part of our commitment came with the necessity of creating an infrastructure for natural gas-powered vehicles. This station will provide the capacity for an additional 50 CNG vehicles to be brought to our fleet. While we were developing these stations, we found the compressors require an enormous amount of energy. We saw that as an opportunity too. We decided to take it a step further and install solar panels to offset the energy use. This is a one-of-a-kind installation. We can proudly say this is the cleanest waste and recycling fleet in the entire country.”
The fueling station, which uses solar power to power equipment that fuels natural gas-burning trucks, has nearly 1,700 solar panels on its roof, expected to produce clean energy for the next 40 years. Total carbon emissions to be avoided by this use of solar power are the equivalent of nearly 610,000 pounds of coal burned for fuel. The fueling station is centrally located in East Windsor to support other fleets’ conversion to natural gas.