Due to be completed in July, the solar system will consist of 1,998 panels constructed on both roof and ground space. It is projected to generate roughly 1.2 million kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, enough to supply more than 15% of the facility's annual electricity consumption.
Hormel Foods is partnering with energy provider IGS Solar and installation experts PCI Solar to work on the project.
The new solar array is expected to help the environment by offsetting an estimated 869 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year that would otherwise be emitted by a conventional fossil fuel power plant. That level of emissions avoided is also equivalent to removing 185 cars from the road annually or avoiding burning 950,419 pounds of coal.
“We place great emphasis on minimising our environmental impacts when producing food for customers and consumers around the world,” said Tom Raymond, director of environmental sustainability at Hormel Foods. “This project supports our environmental sustainability goals and is another example of the company's commitment and support of renewable energy.”
IGS Solar will own, operate and maintain the array, while assisting Hormel Foods to integrate solar generation into its energy portfolio and helping it better control the long-term energy costs for its buildings.
“We’re not only excited about working with Hormel Foods, but we’re also looking forward to the economic benefits this project will yield for them,” said William Neverman, regional manager, IGS Solar. “We look forward to a long-standing partnership with Hormel Foods as they continue their focus on energy sustainability efforts.”
Hormel Foods is also supporting the renewable energy markets by subscribing to community solar gardens at five manufacturing locations, including a co-sponsorship with Westar Energy for its first community solar garden near Wichita, Kansas, where the company manufactures most of its Hormel Natural Choice bacon products. The company also recently announced a virtual power purchase agreement for wind energy.