Local engineering company recognized for solar panel usage

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A company with a long history of producing things gets into the power production business. The family owners say it meets their mantra of “be efficient, be effective, be advanced.”

Advanced Machine and Engineering (AME) in Rockford is known for engineering, machining and assembling complex products. AME recently got recognition for what’s outside its Latham Street plant, 2,200 solar panels.

“I think we’re setting a good example of going green and helping our environment lasting for generations to come for our children and our future, our world,” AME Treasurer Marika Mertz Goellner said.

Generations are important to the success of the family-owned company. Willy Goellner founded it in 1966. His children and grandchildren are all involved now, but their thinking goes way beyond their immediate family. It’s more global.

“We know what we’ve been doing to our world through pollution, exhaust systems, what we eat, garbage that we’re throwing in landfills that shouldn’t be in there, so the more that we can do with solar energy that will also help save our world,” Goellner said.

The move also saves money. ComEd recently presented AME with a rebate check of more than $176,000. The utility company calls it a great partnership.

“By people installing solar panels it’s not going to take ComEd away, ComEd External Affairs Manager George Gaulrapp said. “What it will do is supplement that, so when the sun’s out, shining, they produce power.  That’s great.  When the sun’s not out, it’s cloudy, then they don’t produce enough power, we’re still there. Projects like this will also save the grid -the wear and tear on the grid so it works out as a good partnership both ways.”

AME does a lot of business in Europe, especially throughout its sister company, Hennig. That’s given executives the opportunity to watch alternative energy in action.

“We travel around Germany, Austria, Europe, we see solar panels on all the houses, all the corporations and so it’s just only right that we continue that and as a family we endorse that as well,” Goellner said.

Goellner says the family is convinced on the value of solar power. She, her dad and brothers all put panels on their homes.

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