Yo Solar! Stonyfield Farm Activates 50 kW PV Array

New Hampshire’s largest solar power array, about 10 times larger than any other solar project in the state, opens atop Stonyfield Farm’s 120,000 square-foot organic yogurt facility today. The 50 kW solar energy system demonstrates the company’s commitment to supporting renewable energy projects.

The 5,000 square-foot photovoltaic (PV) array is on the highest roof to keep it in full exposure to the sun. The integrated array will generate about 50,000 W of energy on full sun days — enough to power more than 1,600 LCD computer monitors or 500 100W light bulbs, comparable to the amount of electricity 10 homes might use on an annual basis. “This project is another step for us on our journey toward our dream of freeing Stonyfield Farm from the impacts and risks of fossil fuels,” said Gary Hirshberg, Stonyfield Farm President and CE-Yo. “After witnessing the devastating impacts of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, we are more motivated than ever to not only be free from fossil fuels but also to slow global warming. As business leaders we have to start taking steps toward energy independence for both our business’ financial success and our nation’s economic vitality and national security.” Collaborating with partners to develop the fifth largest array in New England, Stonyfield Farm turned to its renewable energy partner, Vermont-based NativeEnergy, to develop this project with the construction handled by Solar Works of Montpelier, Vermont. “We’re very pleased to have had the opportunity to build this impressive solar project for Stonyfield Farm as part of its overall renewable energy portfolio,” said Tom Boucher, NativeEnergy president and CEO. In addition to energy, the solar array also generates a tradable commodity called renewable energy credits, or green tags, which represent the environmental benefits of energy generated by this non-fossil fuel source. As part of the NativeEnergy’s financing structure for the array, Stonyfield Farm has donated the rights to all of the green tags generated by the project over its entire operating lifetime, about 25 years, to Clean Air – Cool Planet, a science-based nonprofit with offices in Portsmouth, NH, whose goal is to promote effective solutions to the threat of global warming. Stonyfield Farm, celebrating its 23rd year, is a certified organic yogurt manufacturer with its product distributed nationwide. Stonyfield Farm has a long history fighting global warming: in 1997, the company was America’s first manufacturer to offset 100 percent of its CO2 emissions from its facility energy use. It was also the nation’s first dairy processor to pay farmers not to treat cows with the synthetic bovine growth hormone rBGH. In addition, as part of a comprehensive package with NativeEnergy to offset more than two years of the company’s energy-related CO2 emissions, Stonyfield Farm has purchased green tags to help finance construction of wind farms in the Midwest and a new family dairy farm methane energy project.
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