Next time you enjoy a mouthwatering piece of Ethel M Chocolates, you can feel good about knowing it was manufactured with the help of solar energy. Mars Chocolate North America, makers the Las Vegas favorites Ethel M Chocolates, recently announced the opening of a solar power system at its Henderson, Nev., chocolate factory.
The installation—or “garden,” as Mars calls it, since the panels reside next to the Botanical Cactus Garden on the factory grounds—will provide all of the electricity needed to power the Ethel M’s plant during peak operating hours, Mars said. The system features 2,112 ground-mounted solar panels on 4.4 acres. The installation is said to be the largest of its kind by a food manufacturer in Nevada and is expected to generate 1,258 megawatt-hours of electricity each year—equivalent to what 115 average Nevada households use.
“At Mars Chocolate North America, we have the opportunity to make a difference in the world,” Mike Wittman, vice president of supply for Mars, said in a statement. “We are proud of the investments we are making to ensure we are using the earth’s resources responsibly. This newest solar garden moves us closer to our goals of eliminating our carbon footprint at our sites by 2040 and using 100 percent renewable energy.”
The project is the second solar PV project built on Mars-owned property, and a vista point within the Botanical Cactus Garden will allow the more than 700,000 annual visitors to see the new solar installation. Mars, which is known for making such treats as M&Ms, Mars Bars and Twix, said it worked closely with NV Energy for the installation and metering requirements. Mars said it will receive energy offsets from the utility based on the amount of energy their solar panels produce.