As part of an overarching environmental mission, the Zurich-based reinsurance company Swiss Re held a groundbreaking for a new solar field on October 26 at its U.S. headquarters in Armonk. The project is slated to add 7,700 individual solar panels to the rolling hills surrounding the Westchester campus, which will generate 2 megawatts of power. This would constitute roughly 60 percent of all power required by the 700-person office.
This move dovetails with the company’s ongoing mission to reduce their environmental footprint. “We, along with a group of other large companies, formed the RE100 initiative a few years back when we committed that all electricity we would use to power all of our global operations will be from renewable resources by the year 2020,” said Swiss Re CEO and President J Eric Smith during the proceedings. “This is one of the biggest efforts you will see over the next few years so that Swiss Re globally can meet that RE100 commitment.”
According to Vincent Eckert, head of internal environmental management at Swiss Re, the project will span 10 acres — or four soccer fields — and, on very sunny days, can generate more power than the U.S. headquarters requires. Eckert added that the installation time for the project should be “relatively short,” with April as the estimated time of activation.
“The size and the commitment makes this project stand out,” Smith tells 914INC. “It honors our brand and is what we are all about. Our mission is to make the world more resilient and a big part of that is helping society protect against natural catastrophes. It is sustainable projects like this… that demonstrate this commitment to making a difference.”
(L to R) Eric Smith, President and CEO of Swiss Re Americas; Michael Schiliro, Supervisor, North Castle; U.S. Representative Nita Lowey; and Jose Berra, North Castle Council Member at the groundbreaking for Swiss Re Americas solar power installation in Armonk on October 26.
The Armonk groundbreaking was attended by several notable officials, including U.S. Congresswoman Nita Lowey, North Castle supervisor Michael Schiliro, and North Castle council member Jose Berra.