The Four Seasons Family of Cos. powered up its 1.3 million megawatt solar array installation at the end of August, providing power to the company’s main refrigerated distribution center in Ephrata, Pa.
When the sun’s shining, the 3,900 solar panels will provide half of the energy needed to power the company’s offices and refrigerated warehouse, according to a news release. The panels produce peak electricity for about six hours a day, translating to meeting one-sixth of the building’s total demand for electricity each year.
The project is expected to pay for itself in about five years. The building is also cooled with recycled water.
“For years, we’ve wanted to do rooftop solar. Our big black empty warehouse roof felt like a lost opportunity,” Jason Hollinger, president of Four Seasons Family of Companies, said in the release. “But we chose to first focus on reducing power before producing power.”
Multiple projects have led to a reduction of electricity use by more than 20%, water use by more than 30%, and natural gas use by more than 50%, and diverting 92% solid waste at Four Seasons, said Nelson Longenecker, vice president of business innovation.
“We have discovered far more of these improvement opportunities exist than we can effectively pursue,” Longenecker said in the release. “Many times, the limits we face are ones of creativity and time, not financial constraints. We have set aside some ideas — only to return to them later — such as this solar project.”