More than 11,000 solar panels will be installed at two facilities of poultry integrator Perdue this summer, resulting in one of the largest commercially-owned solar power systems in the eastern United States.
“Using solar power means we’ll have a clean energy source that doesn’t pollute or create greenhouse gases, while lowering Perdue’s energy costs over the life of the project,” Perdue said in a statement.
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.
By September 2011, Standard Solar
Inc. of Rockville, Maryland will install the ground-mounted solar panels, covering the equivalent of approximately 10 football fields, on Perdue property.
At offices and feed mill
Almost half will be at the Perdue corporate offices in Salisbury and will be visible to passers-by on westbound US Route 50. The others will be at the company’s feed mill in Bridgeville, Delaware.
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 US homes. At peak production, the panels will produce as much as 90% of the electrical demand for each facility.
“Stewardship is one of our company’s core values, so this is a perfect fit for the way we do business,” said Steve Schwalb, Perdue’s Vice President of Environmental Sustainability.
“Using solar power means we’ll have a clean energy source that doesn’t pollute or create greenhouse gases, while lowering Perdue’s energy costs over the life of the project.”
Carbon footprint reduction
Schwalb 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 (11.3 million ltr) 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. Last year, Perdue announced a renovation of its corporate office that is expected to earn a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Gold rating for environmental leadership from the US Green Building Council.
Three years ago, Perdue signed a first-in-the-industry Clean Waters Environmental Initiative with the US 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.
By hosting this project, Perdue is also helping both Maryland and Delaware achieve their statewide solar energy goals.
The Perdue Family of Companies
includes Perdue Foods and Perdue AgriBusiness, family-owned companies dedicated to becoming the most-trusted names in food and agricultural products.
The Perdue brand is the number-one brand of fresh chicken in the eastern United States, and Perdue Farms quality food products for consumers and foodservice.
Perdue AgriBusiness ranks among the top US grain companies and is a processor, merchandiser and exporter of agricultural commodities.
Privately held and family-run for three generations, the two companies employ more than 21,000 associates.