In what Perdue believes to be one of the largest commercial solar installations on the East Coast, the company has announced they are installing 11,000 solar panels divided between two different facilities. The agribusiness company has entered into a 15-year agreement with Washington Gas Services, Inc. (WGES) to purchase the electricity generated by the solar panels at a set price. WGES will own and operate the system that is expected to generate an average of 3,700 megawatt hours of electricity each year, or approximately enough electricity to power 340 American homes. At peak production, the panels could produce at much as 90 percent of the electrical demand for each facility.
The ground-mounted panels will cover nearly 10 football fields. Nearly half of the solar installation will be located at the Perdue corporate offices in Salisbury, Maryland and the remaining will be located at their feed mill in Bridgeville, Deleware. The panels are being installed by Standard Solar Inc.
“Stewardship is one of our company’s core values, so this is a perfect fit for the way we do business,” said Steve Schwalb, Perdue’s Vice President of Environmental Sustainability. “Using solar power means we’ll have a clean energy source that doesn’t pollute or create greenhouse gases, while lowering Perdue’s energy costs over the life of the project.”
Perdue has also engaged in several other “green” projects. Last year they began renovation their corporate office and hope to obtain LEED certification for environmental leadership from the U.S. Green Building Council. Three years ago, the company began the first to sign a Clean Waters Environmental Initiative with the EPA to aid poultry growers in adopting better pollution prevention practices.
Harry Warren, president of WGES said of the project, “By hosting this project, Perdue is also helping both Maryland and Delaware achieve their statewide solar energy goals. “The Maryland and Delaware Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards Acts call for a growing contribution from solar energy each year through at least 2022, and Perdue’s project will contribute significantly to Maryland’s and Delaware’s total solar power production goals for 2012 and beyond.”