Natural Foods Facility Taps Natural Energy

A California-based company dedicated to producing all natural vegetarian foods, has taken their passion one step further to the electricity that powers the facility. Through a partnership between the Permacity Corporation and RWE Schott Solar (RSS), Earth Island Natural Foods us now being powered entirely by the sun.

Chatsworth, California – July 27, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] “We knew from the moment we purchased this building in 2002 that we would extend this healthy philosophy to the building’s operation itself, making solar power a natural choice for us,” said Bob Goldberg, president of Earth Island Natural Foods. “Now, for every kilowatt of “green” electricity our system produces, one kilowatt of “brown” electricity is offset or not produced, meaning a reduction in greenhouse gases in our environment, which is good for everyone.” Since its installation, the developers said the system has offered some pleasant surprises. The 113 kW PV array on the company’s manufacturing and warehousing facility was designed to produce about 192,000 kWh of electricity per year, or about 75 percent of the facility’s energy requirements. However, after monitoring the system’s output and the building’s energy draw once the system was commissioned, Permacity and Earth Island said they noted a decrease in the facility’s electrical use, and attribute it to the mounting system’s shading effect. RSS, which provided the solar PV modules and the mounting systems, said the solar array helps to reduce the building’s cooling needs, thus reducing the overall electrical load. Combined, the shading effect and the electricity production enable the PV system to deliver more energy than the building uses, meeting 100 percent of its needs. Excess energy production credited through the late spring to early fall months will be used to offset the electricity used during the remainder of the year, resulting in a net-zero electricity bill. “In addition to eliminating Earth Island’s electricity bill, the PV system a highly profitable investment,” said Marc Roper, vice president of marketing and sales for RSS. “The system is producing excellent solar output with an expected cash payback in five years since its commissioning this spring.”
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