Solar power could offer food plants green remedy

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Energy

Solar powered renewable energy systems could help food manufacturers become more sustainable, says Perpetual Energy Systems (PES).

The US based PES, a financier and developer of solar energy systems, announced yesterday the activation of solar installations at four of Foster’s wine estates in the US, which, it said, will in total generate 3.85 million Kilowatt hours (KWh AC) of energy annually.

Laurance Friedman, co-chair of Perpetual Energy Systems, told that large scale food operations, in much the same way as the wineries, could use roof mount and/or covered parking solar installations to help power their plants.

He said that the solar installations in the wine estates will eliminate two million pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per year from the environment, which equates to the removal of 183 passenger cars from the roads annually.

“We install distributed generation power which is used on site by the host, and depending upon the needs and the availability of the host, we customize the systems to fit the situation,”​ said Friedman.

Web tracking

He said that the solar panel systems are monitored by PES via web based internet tracking, and that the amount of energy produced coupled with the carbon credits and carbon dioxide savings that result are all recorded.

“We, as the owners of the system, own the green credits accrued but the host site can declare to consumers that the facility in question is producing products with a clean, green, renewable energy that does not add to the environmental problems linked to C02 emissions,”​ said Friedman.

However, he added, that if companies wish to purchase carbon credits from PES, that option is available to them.

No up-front cost

PES installs, owns and operates the systems for the lifetime (25 years) of the contract, and that there is no up-front cost for the companies, continued Friedman.

“We offer two alternatives: the first option involves the client paying a fixed price with a fixed annual escalation for the contract term, with the base price calculated by looking at their existing electricity bills. This methodology gives the client an absolute certainty of what they would pay for their electricity for the next 25 years.

“The second option is one in which we give the client a fixed percentage of discount off their existing utility bill. We are able to monitor the rate of their utility charges and our bill is adjusted up or down based on their utility increases or decreases. In this way, companies are guaranteed to receive a bill which, on an annualized basis, is less than what they would have paid their utility provider.”

He explained that by installing these systems and owning them, PES receives the depreciation and tax benefits available: “We pay for the systems and their installations and over 25 years receive a payment for the electricity generated. We are betting that the total of the payments received over the next 25 years will have justified our initial investment.”

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