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Del Monte Adds 1.9MW of Solar

del-monte-solar-chart2Canned and dried fruit and vegetable producer Del Monte Foods has added 1.9 megawatts in rooftop solar capacity at two California facilities.

The system should save Del Monte about $500,000 in electrical costs the first year, and about $25 million over the systems expected 30-year lifespan, according to a press release.

The rooftop arrays were installed by SunPower Corp.

The solar system should reduce carbon emissions by 95 million pounds over 30 years, which Del Monte said is equivalent to planting 9,800 acres of trees, or eliminating nearly a billion automobile road miles, according to the release. Over those 30 years, the panels will produce enough electricity to power 7,519 homes.

Del Monte’s Hanford, Calif. plant, features a 1.2-megawatt SunPower solar installation, while the Kingsburg plant has a 759-kilowatt installation.

When added together, the two solar arrays have 9,080 solar panels, spanning over nearly 200,000 square feet of rooftop, according to the release.

Del Monte is benefiting from the California Solar Initiative, which results in a rebate on utility rates for the first five years of operations, according to the release. And California’s net metering program requires Del Monte to pay only for the net amount of electricity the regional utility company supplies over-and-above the amount of electricity generated by an on-site solar power system, according to the release.

Over the past four years, Del Monte has introduced new boilers that capture heat to use in other operations, helping reduce natural gas usage by 12 percent, according to its CSR Web page.

Another California dried fruit company, the Mariani Packing Company, in late 2008 completed a 1.1 megawatt solar power system at its Vacaville, Calif., headquarters.

Located on seven acres and made up of more than 5,800 photovoltaic panels, the system is expected to produce 1.9 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year. The company says over 20 years, the system will produce enough electricity to power about 3,000 homes per year and offset more than 30 million pounds of CO2.

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