Green Chow: Pet Food Factory Goes Solar

Nestle Purina PetCare has just added a new ingredient to its popular pet food: solar power. The company commissioned a 427-kilowatt (kW) photovoltaic (PV) solar array at its Flagstaff, Ariz., pet food factory.  The installation consists of nearly 1,900 solar panels over 70,000 square feet of the plant’s rooftop, and will produce nearly 12 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity over its lifetime, offsetting over 16 million pounds of greenhous gases, the company said.

The system was designed and installed by California-based REC Solar, with also installed Nestle Purina’s first PV systems at its Denver factory in 2008. To celebrate the unveiling of the Arizona array, Nestle Purina donated $5,000 to two local animal welfare organizations.

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image via Nestle Purina

Nestle Purina took advantage of the commissioning to highlight its other green deeds in Flagstaff: Before installing the solar array, it purchased renewable energy through the Northern Arizona Renewable Energy group, a green power purchasing program, and was in the Arizona Public Service (APS) Green Choice program, which allows participants to purchase a portion of their power from renewable resources like wind and solar. The company also said that each of its North American manufacturing plants have implemented and maintain comprehensive environmental management systems, and employs a person who is responsible for environmental and energy issues.

“This Nestle Purina solar project is good for the environment, good for the community, and good for business,” said U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), a native of Flagstaff. “It’s an excellent example of collaboration between private industry and federal and state entities, with long-term benefits for all stakeholders.”

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Lauren Craig is a writer and consultant living in Seattle, WA. She holds an M.S. in International Development from Tulane University, and is co-founder of Sustainable Systems Integrators, LLC., an employee-owned solar energy design and installation firm in New Orleans, LA. She is also certified in PV design and installation by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).