January 19, 2011
More than 11,000 solar panels will be installed at two Perdue facilities this summer, resulting in one of the largest commercially-owned solar power systems in the eastern United States.
Perdue has entered into a 15-year agreement with Washington Gas Energy Services, Inc. (WGES) to purchase electricity generated by the solar panels at guaranteed prices.
By September 2011, Standard Solar Inc. of Rockville, Md. will install the ground-mounted solar panels, covering the equivalent of approximately 10 football fields, on Perdue property. Almost half will be at the Perdue corporate offices in Salisbury and will be visible to passers-by on westbound U.S. Route 50. The others will be at the company’s feed mill in Bridgeville, Del.
The systems, which will be owned and operated by WGES, will generate an average of 3,700 megawatt hours of electricity each year, or the amount of power used by 340 typical U.S. homes. At peak production, the panels will produce as much as 90 percent of the electrical demand for each facility.
“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.”
Schwalb estimated the clean electricity from the solar panels will reduce Perdue’s carbon footprint 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 contract.
The agreement is Perdue’s latest step in its commitment to being environmentally friendly. Last year, Perdue announced a renovation of its corporate office that is expected to earn a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Gold rating for environmental leadership from the U.S. Green Building Council. Three years ago, Perdue signed a first-in-the-industry Clean Waters Environmental Initiative with the U.S. 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.
“By hosting this project, Perdue is also helping both Maryland and Delaware achieve their statewide solar energy goals,” said Harry Warren, president of WGES of Herndon, Va. “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.”
“We applaud Perdue for taking such a significant step toward energy independence and are pleased to be part of one of the largest solar installations on the East Coast,” said Scott Wiater, President of Standard Solar.