KENDALLVILLE – Reliable Production Machining and Welding, a component manufacturer to the agricultural, large construction, RV, and lawn & garden industries located 25 miles north of Fort Wayne, Indiana became another company in the growing group of commercial and industrial customers installing one million Watt (MegaWatt) solar systems.

After seeing their South Milford neighbor to the north, Wible Lumber installed a one-megawatt solar system in 2016, Reliable President, Chuck Drerup and CEO Tom Walterhouse, also chose to install solar to greatly reduce their company’s long-term electrical cost. Reliable had already invested in high-efficiency lighting and HVAC. The solar system will generate 85% of their annual electric power usage and further advance their company in sustainability. The clean “green” power will avoid tons of carbon dioxide emissions that would have been omitted to the atmosphere if they would have continued to purchase all their power from utilities operating coal-powered plants. The system was designed to work in parallel with I&M utility power and qualified for 30 years of net metering which changed in 2018.

The 1.2 Mega Watt system has over 3,500 solar panels, annual savings to Reliable should exceed $170,000 or the equivalent of over 150 homes. The system will last 30 plus years generating nearly 50 million kilowatt hours of power over its lifetime. “After seeing the success Wible Lumber had in dramatically lowering their electrical needs; Reliable wanted to be mostly self-sufficient and take advantage of the 30-year savings with net metering, plus investing in this project we knew it would give us a good return on our money. Solar just benefits our company in many ways for generations to come”, stated Drerup.

The five-acre property adjacent to the plant was a perfect location for solar with its south facing location and a prominent position adjacent to State Road 3 leading to Kendallville. In the limited time available, Reliable wanted a turn-key, single point contractor. So, they contacted locally based Renewable Energy Systems (RES) based out of Avilla, IN to do the engineering and construction of the project. The engineering was started in August with construction starting in October and completed in early December. A time-lapse video of this project will soon be on the RES website along with drone footage.

RES owner, Eric Hesher said, “Indiana businesses are installing solar power as it helps reduce monthly operating cost and the systems are eligible for a 30% federal tax credit until the end of 2019. The systems can be depreciated for additional savings, while also providing a long-term stable investment”.

This large megawatt plus project required utility grade panels that generate electric power from the sun and high voltage inverters which change the DC power from the solar panels into AC power. The solar power generated will be monitored through the company’s secure Wi-Fi system and be available for viewing by computer and smartphone.

Reliable Tool and Machine Company started in 1946 in the basement of a casket factory in Kendallville, IN by Harvey Charles with two employees. Son-in-law to Harvey, Owen Drerup joined the company in the 1960’s as the company expanded three more times each decade growing their product lines to meet the market’s demand in custom machined products, torsion axles, and a complete line of their own hub and drums serving the RV and Agriculture Industry.  Owen’s son, Chuck joined the company in 1976 as the third generation. In 2010 Reliable changed the management team and its name to Reliable Production Machining and Welding to be more in line with the company’s direction. Then another expansion in 2012 increased Reliable’s production to over 300,000 sq. ft. At that time Reliable invested in modern CNC machinery and received their ISO 9001 certification.

Renewable Energy Systems, LLC of Avilla, IN is the area’s largest EPC solar energy company. RES specializes in solar installation for commercial, agricultural, industrial, and residential applications. The company has been in business since 2008 servicing North Eastern Indiana, Southern Michigan and Northwest Ohio.