Here Comes the Sun: Manufacturers Share Their Solar Power Journeys – IndustryWeek

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“We have a big facility here, 250,000 square feet,” he says. R.A Jones installed over 3,700 panels, covering around 85% of the roof surface. “We’re not using any of our parking facility, we’re not using any of our green space [for the solar panels]. It’s just maximizing the use of our facility.”

Through studies and structural surveys, R.A Jones ensured that its building was fit for the project and determine the optimal panel angle.

R.A Jones collaborated with local company Melink Solar to design and build the panels for the Covington facility.

The panel system is in the completion stage, after less than 18 months. It is expected to produce over 2 million kWh of clean energy each year, which is more than 50% of the plant’s energy needs for the first year.

Once fully operational, the system will generate 100% zero-carbon electricity at the manufacturing facility during the 30-year life cycle of the installation. “We’ll be offsetting 330,200 tons of CO2,” Titterton says.

R.A Jones is kickstarting Coesia’s renewable efforts in North America, but they’re not done just yet, according to Titterton, who shared some “hot off the press” news.

“We’re so happy with what’s happening here, we’re going to do the same in our other facility in Davenport, Iowa,” he says.

Jennie-O: Sharing Is Caring

Hormel Foods isn’t new to the solar space, with multiple plants already taking advantage of renewable energy. The corporation recently expanded that list with the addition of an 8-acre solar field at its Jennie-O Turkey Store plant in Montevideo, Minnesota.

The field is projected to generate 3.2 million kWh annually, supplying around 10% of the facility’s industrial power. Furthermore, a portion of the project is allotted to the surrounding community.

Driving Hormel to establish these types of projects is their 20 By 30 Challenge, a set of 20 goals to be achieved by 2030.The manufacturer strives to match 100% of its energy with renewable sourcing and meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets, which were recently validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

Hormel considers a variety of factors, including available space and pricing, when vetting the location and viability of its next project.

“One of the things we look at our manufacturing locations is where can we expand our facility in the future because we don’t want to install anything that might interfere with future growth of the operation,” says Tom Raymond, Hormel Foods’ director of environmental sustainability. “The Montevideo plant gave us a really excellent access to the section of land.”

After deciding the Montevideo Jennie-O plant was a match, the company sought proposals from potential partners.

“When you get that partner, then there’s a long series of design and measurement phases,” he says. “Some of that involves contracting between the parties, discussions with the utilities on interconnections of getting our power to our plant … That all takes place very early in the process, and that is probably the singular hardest stage.”

For the Montevideo project in particular, the company added a unique feature to support its team members and surrounding community.

“The utility provider limits us to a certain amount of power, so 1 megawatt of power is all that we can put in to support our building needs,” says Raymond. However, the land developer gave the company an option to have two megawatts, allowing Hormel to devote the extra megawatt of solar out into the grid.

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