Lexmark International Inc. plans to invest $4M to establish a solar panel array and educational greenspace at its corporate headquarters in Lexington.
“I want to congratulate Lexmark on its latest investment in Kentucky and thank its leaders for their commitment to a sustainable future in the commonwealth,” Gov. Beshear said. “Lexmark has been a major employer in Fayette County for more than three decades, and this investment shows a commitment to the next generation of Kentuckians. Thank you to Lexmark’s leadership for their continued faith in our state and our talented workforce.”
Lt. Gov. Coleman, who attended today’s groundbreaking, said the project builds on the commonwealth’s vision for the future.
“Last year, we announced Kentucky’s energy strategy for a transitioning energy landscape. Known as KYE3 – which stands for energy, environment and economic development – our long-term strategic vision for Kentucky is an energy strategy wrapped in economic development and focused on resilience,” Lt. Gov. Coleman said. “Lexmark is one company embodying the essence of KYE3. Congratulations on the groundbreaking of your solar array.”
Lexmark will construct a 10-acre solar panel array at its Fayette County location. The 2-megawatt direct-current array will generate over 225,000 kilowatt hours per month – more than 3.3 million kilowatt hours in its first year – and will offset approximately 10% of the site’s energy usage. The array will be used to power the Lexmark facility and has potential to increase capacity up to 6 megawatts. Company leaders anticipate work on the project to begin immediately and be completed by the end of 2022.
The project also will revitalize a brownfield area, which will be used as an educational greenspace with walking trails, a wildlife habitat, a butterfly garden and planting area for pollinator flowers. Power generation analytics resulting from the solar array will be displayed at the company’s customer engagement center. The solar array and revitalized brownfield also will be utilized to further enhance Lexmark’s longstanding support of STEM education opportunities for local schools.
“The solar array demonstrates Lexmark’s long-term focus on sustainability and is a significant step toward our goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2035,” said Allen Waugerman, Lexmark president and CEO. “We appreciate the tremendous support we received from the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet. This project is a great example of what can be accomplished when we work together toward a common goal.”
Lexmark has worked with the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet’s (EEC) Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves to remove non-native, invasive species and incorporate native species within the area of the project.
EEC Secretary Rebecca Goodman noted the teamwork required to make this project possible.
“This project and the collaborative effort between the cabinet and Lexmark is an excellent example of what we can achieve as Team Kentucky,” Secretary Goodman said. “Lexmark is to be commended for their efforts to take an idle, inoperative piece of property and redevelop it for positive use for the community.”
Headquartered in Lexington since its inception in 1991, Lexmark creates cloud-enabled imaging and IoT technologies that help customers in more than 170 countries worldwide quickly realize business outcomes. Lexmark considers social responsibility a core part of its business. Its global citizenship begins with providing customers with innovative, high-quality products and services in an environmentally and socially responsible manner, including those that help customers achieve their own sustainability goals. Lexmark has also been recognized for sustainability best practices in its own operations—for energy conservation, wise water use and waste reduction.
Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton said the company is a leader within the community.
“Lexmark is an outstanding corporate citizen that has been a leader in environmental and technological innovation,” Mayor Gorton said. “With today’s announcement they’re leading the way again, making our city greener and cleaner.”
Bob Quick, president and CEO of Commerce Lexington Inc., noted the positive impact Lexmark has had on the region.
“Lexmark has been a longtime community partner and economic driver in Central Kentucky. Its team has not only developed innovative solutions for business but has also demonstrated that a business model focused on environmental sustainability can succeed, resulting in a positive impact on our people, our community and the planet,” Quick said. “We are proud to recognize Lexmark’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and providing our local school system and others throughout the region with additional STEM learning opportunities by implementing this solar array project.”
Lexmark’s investment in sustainable energy furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth, as the state builds back stronger from the effects of the pandemic.
Last month, Site Selection magazine’s annual Governor’s Cup rankings for 2021 placed Kentucky atop the South Central region, and third nationally, for qualifying projects per capita.
Gov. Beshear recently announced that on Jan. 28, S&P Global Ratings revised Kentucky’s financial outlook to positive from stable and affirmed its “A-” credit rating. S&P cited a reduced reliance on one-time items to balance the budget and a higher balance in the state’s rainy-day fund as primary factors influencing the change.
That follows a 2021 during which the commonwealth shattered every economic development record in the books. Private-sector new-location and expansion announcements included a record $11.2 billion in total planned investment and commitments to create a record 18,000-plus full-time jobs across the coming years. Kentucky’s average incentivized hourly wage for projects statewide in 2021 was $24 before benefits, a 9.4% increase over the previous year.
In recent months, the commonwealth has seen its two largest economic development projects in the state’s history. In September, Gov. Beshear and leaders from Ford Motor Co. and SK Innovation celebrated a transformative $5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs in Hardin County. Last week, the Governor was joined by leadership at Envision AESC to announce a $2 billion investment that will create 2,000 jobs in Warren County. The announcements solidify Kentucky as the national leader in EV battery production.
Kentucky also saw an all-time, record-setting budget surplus in fiscal year 2021 and entered 2022 with an estimated $1.9 billion more than budgeted.
To encourage investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in March approved Lexmark for up to $200,000 in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA). KEIA allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing.
In addition, Lexmark can receive resources from Kentucky’s workforce service providers. Those include no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job-training incentives.
For more information on Lexmark, visit Lexmark.com.
A detailed community profile for Fayette County can be viewed here.
Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at CED.ky.gov. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion at facebook.com/CEDkygov, on Twitter @CEDkygov, Instagram @CEDkygov and LinkedIn.
Read about other key updates, actions and information from Gov. Beshear and his administration at governor.ky.gov, kycovid19.ky.gov and the Governor’s official social media accounts Facebook, Twitterand YouTube.