As part of yesterday’s Earth Day 2004 festivities, Whole Foods Market, the worlds largest organic and natural foods supermarket, officially dedicated their newly-installed BP Solar photovoltaic (PV) system. The Whole Foods Market in Edgewater is the first major food retailer in the Northeast to use solar energy as a power source.Edgewater, New Jersey – April 23, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] For a grocery store that strives to provide “the best, most environmentally-friendly shopping experience,” installing a solar electric system was a natural progression. “This innovative program truly demonstrates how we as a business can be leaders in our community to help the environment and promote clean energy within our stores, Whole Foods is using this opportunity to bring together and educate our community on alternative solutions they can do at home to promote a healthy planet,” said Christina Minardi, Regional Vice President, Whole Foods Market. “We are thrilled to celebrate this wonderful initiative on such a great day as Earth Day.” A unique partnership helped Whole Foods Market to take this significant step in resource conservation. The State of New Jersey and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) through the New Jersey Clean Energy Program, provided a $500,000 rebate on the cost of the system. Whole Foods Market partnered with BP Solar, Sun Edison, and A-Net Energy to have this commercial scale system installed. The system consists of a 120 kW solar array that generates electricity which is used onsite by the store. The solar electric system consists of 14,000 square feet on the roof of the store. In addition to helping preserve the planet’s natural resources, Whole Foods Market’s new solar system will save energy while providing significant economic and environmental benefits. The solar electric system will produce and save more than 2.2 million kilowatt hours over 20 years; result in more than 1,650 tons of CO2 emissions avoided, the equivalent of removing 440 cars from the roadways; and reduce the impact on our country’s power grids. “We commend both Whole Foods Market and BP Solar for putting together a highly replicable project, and I believe that we will see many more projects of this kind resulting from their leadership. Environmentally savvy consumers will have yet another reason to rest easy when shopping at Whole Foods Market in Edgewater, New Jersey” said Jeanne M Fox, BPU President. As part of the official launch, BPU President, Jeanne M. Fox, BP Solar North America Regional President, Mary Shields, and Whole Foods Market Regional Vice President Christina Minardi, were on hand to show how the system works and provided information to the public on how they can takes steps towards getting their own solar electric systems for their homes. “Our goal with BP Solar Energy Solutions is to make it easy and practical for companies and homeowners to choose solar power so that together we build a brighter tomorrow for everyone,” said BP Solar Regional President for North America, Mary Shields. The Solarbration event was part of Whole Foods Market’s tri-state Partners for the Planet program, a year long event that demonstrates how Everyday can be Earth Day. Five percent of the days total sales to be donated to “Farm to Table”, an Earth Pledge initiative. Earth Pledge, is a nonprofit organization that identifies and encourages innovative techniques and technologies that makes sustainability accessible through a variety of mediums and community relations.