Holcim US Announces Milestone Solar Initiative in Michigan to Accelerate Decarbonization Efforts

  • 100-acre site on Holcim’s Alpena property will be company’s largest solar array in the Midwest
  • Large-scale renewable energy solution and other green energy initiatives will self-generate 75 percent of the Alpena plant’s electric power needs

Chicago, Ill., June 15, 2023 — Holcim US today announced a milestone clean energy investment in northeast Michigan with a new partnership to bring the company’s largest solar project in the Midwest to its cement plant in Alpena. When combined with existing renewable energy efforts, the solar initiative will help the plant self-generate 75 percent of its electric power needs with green energy—an important step toward fulfilling Holcim’s pledge to power all of its US operations with 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.

“The solar project on 100 acres of Holcim’s Alpena property is another powerful example of the investment we are willing to make to address sustainability with urgency,” said Atl Martinez, Vice President, Procurement at Holcim. “With new initiatives launching across the US, Holcim’s momentum to transform our operations, lower our carbon footprint and reach net-zero has never been greater.”

The announcement follows the recent opening of an innovative tire-derived fuel (TDF) facility at the Alpena plant. Holcim launched the $7.4 million initiative to safely and cleanly convert 22,000 tons of tires per year into energy to help fuel the plant. Built with support from the State of Michigan, the facility will allow the plant to sustainably reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and other natural resources, while diverting tires from landfills and streams.

On the horizon, the plant is planning upgrades to its dock used to barge materials on the Great Lakes. Funded in part through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration's Small Shipyard Grant Program with the City of Alpena, the dock improvements will accommodate larger vessels, which will lead to fewer trips to transport goods and a reduction in CO2 emissions from Lakes transportation.  

“As Holcim is showing in Alpena, the path to net-zero carbon emissions requires a blend of proactive solutions,” said Michael Nixon, Senior Vice President, Manufacturing at Chicago-based Holcim US. “Whether it’s using alternative fuels or implementing renewable energy from solar power, we are committed to reducing our reliance on fossil fuels—a goal that will benefit the environment as a whole and the Alpena community we have called home for more than 115 years.”

The solar project’s 25 MW solar array will be optimized for maximum energy yield with fixed-tilt high-performance bifacial solar panels that generate power on both the front and back sides. 

NorthStar Clean Energy will implement the solar solution, which is anticipated to reduce the plant’s CO2 emissions by approximately 25,000 tons annually and produce over 30 percent of its current energy demand. Holcim is expected to receive approximately 35,000 MWh of clean power from the project per year under a Solar Equipment Service Contract with a minimum term of 20 years.

“We’re proud to tap into the power of solar to help drive Holcim US’ 100 percent renewable energy goal,” said Brian Hartmann, President of NorthStar Clean Energy. “Holcim US joins a growing roster of sustainability leaders who’ve chosen NorthStar Clean Energy to decarbonize their operations and help power the nation’s clean energy transformation.”

Construction of the renewable energy system will begin this year. Commercial operations are expected to begin in December 2024.

Renewable energy plays a key role in Holcim’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions. In late 2022, Holcim entered into its first virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). Holcim has also expanded its renewable portfolio to include a co-located 33 MW solar array with a 40 MWh battery storage system in Colorado, 4.5 MW of wind generation from three wind turbines in Ohio, as well as an additional 20 MW from in Maryland and Arkansas. Last week, the company announced its participation in the New York Value of Distributed Energy Resources (VDER) program.

About Holcim US


Holcim is a global leader in innovative and sustainable building solutions. Driven by its purpose to build progress for people and the planet, its 60,000 employees are on a mission to decarbonize building, while improving living standards for all. The company empowers its customers across all regions to build better with less, with its broad range of low-carbon and circular solutions, from ECOPact to ECOPlanet. With its innovative systems, from Elevate’s roofing to PRB’s insulation, Holcim makes buildings more sustainable in use, driving energy efficiency and green retrofitting. With sustainability at the core of its strategy, Holcim is becoming a net-zero company with 1.5°C targets validated by SBTi.

In the United States, Holcim US includes nearly 350 sites in 43 states and employs 7,000 people. Our customers rely on us to help them design and build better communities with innovative solutions that deliver structural integrity and eco-efficiency. 


Lynn Safranek

Jaylon Brinkley
Pierpont Communications

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