Natural Energy to Natural Foods Markets

The same sunlight that helps grow natural and organic foods carried in a California market is now helping power the store.

Los Angeles, California – November 14, 2002 [] Whole Foods Market, the world’s largest natural and organic supermarket and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), the nation’s largest municipally owned utility, have teamed up to create an on-site solar electric power co-generation system. Under the management of California Associated Power, the system was recently installed at the Whole Foods Market store in Woodland Hills, California, making the company Los Angeles’ largest major retailer and nation’s largest food retailer to introduce solar energy as 25 percent of its power source. Under the LADWP’s Solar Incentive Program, which provided more than US$582,000 in incentives, Whole Foods Market brought together California Associated Power, Sunny Boy, Shell Solar, The Gas Company and Sempra Energy to create a 108 kW solar electric system to power the Woodland Hills store. The solar array is composed of Shell Solar panels covering 18,000 square feet on the store’s roof. These solar panels are electrically interconnected to Sunny Boy power modules, which feed DC power to the store’s existing electrical system and the utility grid at large. “We are a company actively looking for ways to help preserve our planet’s natural resources, and natural solar powered lighting systems made sense both from an economic and an environmental standpoint,” said Michael Besancon, Southern Pacific regional president of Whole Foods Market. “Most importantly, this initiative is helping us to further our corporate mission of preserving the environment by promoting clean energy. We are planning to implement this technology with other stores throughout the Southern Pacific region.” Whole Foods Market’s new solar electrical system is expected to create significant economic and environmental benefits. In addition to an attractive amortization period, the system will produce and save more than 3 million kWh over 20 years.

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