Perdue Announces First Solar Installation

DELAWARE, US - First phase has been completed for one of the largest commercially owned solar power systems in the eastern United States.
calendar icon 10 August 2011
clock icon 4 minute read

A new kind of farm – a solar farm – is in operation near Bridgeville, Delaware. The first phase of one of the largest commercially owned solar power systems in the eastern United States is now online. Delaware dignitaries and executives from project partners Perdue, Standard Solar, Inc. and Washington Gas Energy Services (WGES) attended an open house at the site this week to observe the array of 6,720 solar panels. The installation is Perdue's latest initiative supporting its commitment to being environmentally friendly.

The Bridgeville installation, which will supply electricity to a nearby Perdue feed mill and Perdue AgriBusiness grain facility, is the first phase of a total 11,000 panels being installed at two Perdue facilities. The panels are owned by WGES and were installed by Standard Solar of Rockville, Maryland. Perdue will purchase green electricity generated by the solar panels at guaranteed prices. The second phase of the installation is currently under construction at the Perdue corporate offices in Salisbury, Maryland, and is expected to be complete in October 2011.

Both systems will generate a combined 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 per cent of the electrical demand for each Perdue facility.

Steve Schwalb, Perdue's vice president of Environmental Sustainability, commented: "We are pleased to 'flip the switch' on the Bridgeville installation and begin generating clean, renewable energy for our operations while lowering our energy costs. Stewardship is one of Perdue's core values, so this is a perfect fit for the way we do business."

Mr Schwalb estimated the clean electricity from the solar panels will reduce carbon emissions by 3,000 tons per year, the equivalent of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from 300,000 gallons of gasoline per year, or nearly 4.5 million gallons through the life of the 15-year contract.

Scott Wiater, president of Standard Solar, commented: "The Bridgeville installation is a substantial step toward energy independence for Perdue and we are excited to showcase this significant milestone in the development of one of the largest solar installations on the East Coast."

Harry Warren, president of WGES, said: "Delaware has set aggressive goals for increasing the use of renewable energy in the State, and we are very happy to be working with one of its largest businesses to help achieve those goals. And as a leading competitive energy supplier in Delaware, we are also happy to demonstrate how competitive suppliers can work with end users to create creative, economical, and clean new energy supplies."

Additionally, Perdue is currently renovating its corporate office to the US Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Gold standards. 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.

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