US poultry company goes solar powered

21-01-2011 | | |
US poultry company goes solar powered

More than 11,000 solar panels will be installed at two Perdue facilities this summer, resulting in one of the largest commercially-owned solar power systems in the eastern United States.

Perdue has entered into a 15-year agreement with Washington Gas Energy Services, (WGES) to purchase electricity generated by the solar panels at guaranteed prices.

The company hopes to complete the installation by September 2011. The ground-mounted solar panels, will cover the equivalent of approximately 10 football fields, on Perdue property. Almost half will be at the Perdue corporate offices in Salisbury and the others will be at the company’s feed mill in Bridgeville, Del.

The systems, which will be owned and operated by WGES, will generate an average of 3,700 megawatt hours of electricity each year, or the amount of power used by 340 typical U.S. homes. At peak production, the panels will produce as much as 90 percent of the electrical demand for each facility.

Steve Schwalb, Perdue’s Vice President of Environmental Sustainability estimated the clean electricity from the solar panels will reduce Perdue’s carbon footprint by 3,000 tons per year, the equivalent of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from 300,000 gallons of gasoline per year, or nearly 4.5 million gallons through the life of the contract.

The agreement is Perdue’s latest step in its commitment to being environmentally friendly. Three years ago, Perdue signed a first-in-the-industry Clean Waters Environmental Initiative with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help poultry growers adopt best pollution prevention practices. Ten years ago, Perdue built the nation’s first commercial poultry litter processing plant, the only process that is verifiably removing excess nutrients from the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

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