Mars Petcare has flipped the switch on a new solar garden linked to the company's San Bernardino, California manufacturing facility that produces Pedigree Brand dry dog food.

Mars partnered with Ahana Renewables, a subsidiary of ATN International, Inc., to develop and fund the project under a 25-year power purchase agreement.

The new solar garden features 3,420 individual solar panels that will annually deliver 1.9 million kilowatt hours, which can power more than 50 percent of the 78,000 square foot site's daily energy needs. The four-acre solar garden is projected to yield a 549 tonne reduction of greenhouse gases. The San Bernardino site opened in 1983 and was acquired by Mars Petcare in 2006. The company currently employs 75 full-time associates at the site.

Mars’ sustainability plan

This is the third solar garden constructed by Mars in the US – joining Mars Wrigley Confectionery solar gardens in Hackettstown, New Jersey, and Henderson, Nevada. Mars also co-owns a 25,000-acre wind farm near Lamesa, Texas, featuring 118 turbines, that annually generates nearly 800,000 mega-watt hours of power.  As part of the Sustainable in a Generation Plan, Mars plans to reduce its total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across its entire value chain by 27 percent by 2025 and 67 percent by 2050.

"At Mars Petcare we're working towards our mission: a better world for pets, because we whole-heartedly believe they improve our lives," said Kevin Rabinovitch, global VP of sustainability at Mars, in a press release. "This new solar garden is a great example of the steps we need to take in order to achieve the ambitious goals set out in our new Sustainable in a Generation Plan to reduce the total environmental impact of Mars to ensure we foster a healthy planet for future generations – of people and pets."

In conjunction with the unveiling of this new solar garden, Mars Petcare will also be making a US$20,000 charitable contribution to GRID Alternatives Inland Empire. The donation will go towards furthering the organization's mission of providing access to clean, renewable solar energy to low-income families throughout the Inland Empire area.