Solar power fully fuels pet treat facility in US

International Energy Agency analysts calculated that solar power developer installed 114.9 gigawatts of new solar power capacity in 2019 worldwide.

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photo by Andrea Gantz
photo by Andrea Gantz

Globally, analysts estimated solar power production grew faster in 2019 than 2018, and at least one pet food company has kept that trend toward renewable energy going in 2020.

Solar power generation at pet food facilities                  

In Harvard, Illinois, USA, Pedigree Ovens and The Pound Bakery completed installing 200,000 square feet of solar panels in early October. Installation took three months to complete. The photovoltaic array will supply all the 212,000-square-foot facility’s electricity. The facility makes private label pet treats and the Pound Bakery’s own brands. The solar array forms the shape of a bone and pawprint covering 4.5 acres.

“We have added equipment and in 2019 we were fitted to create 10% more power than we needed in 2019,” Lexie Berglund, The Pound Bakery president, said in an email.

However, the company doesn’t plan to produce an excess of solar energy to sell back to the grid. The installation of the panels created a surge in local employment, while the ongoing maintenance may also create a few jobs, Berglund said.

“It is a popular topic these days,” she said. “Everyone is talking sustainable products. We are proud to offer a renewable energy to produce pet treats.”

Pedigree Ovens worked with Simpleray to design the 1.703-kilowatt solar power system. With 4,386 solar modules, the system will produce over 2,044,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity annually. The company estimated the photovoltaics will offset 1,456 tons of greenhouse gases each year. During the next 25 years, a total of 51,000,000 kWh may be produced, which equates to 9,00 metric tons of carbon dioxide, the power used to charge 1.15 billion smartphones, 22,090,165 miles being driven by a passenger vehicle, and prevents 50 rail cars of coal from being burned.

Solar power generation growing worldwide

International Energy Agency analysts calculated that solar power developer installed 114.9 gigawatts of new solar power capacity in 2019 worldwide. In 2019, people installed 12% more new solar power than in 2018. In Snapshot of Global Photovoltaic Market 2020, the agency reported that at least 629 gigawatts of photovoltaics were mounted globally, as of December 2019. Solar power now contributes approximately 3% of the world’s power. Solar power precluded the release of up to the equivalent of 720 million tons of carbon dioxide, based on the installed capacity at the end of 2019. That reduction equates to reducing global carbon dioxide emissions by 1.7% in total, or equivalent to 2.2% of the energy-related emissions or 5.3% of electricity related emissions. China installed the most solar power in 2019, followed by Europe and the United States.

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