Conagra Brands partners with SolAmerica Energy on mega solar energy project

USA – American branded food company, Conagra Brands has entered into a 15-year service agreement with SolAmerica Energy to place eight acres of solar panels on the company’s Wish-bone salad dressing facility at St. Elmo, Illinois.

Conagra Brands said that the energy generated by the photovoltaic array will be equivalent to the amount needed to produce approximately 35%

The St. Elmo facility produces majority of the company’s Wish-bone salad dressings in addition to Log Cabin and Mrs. Butterworth’s syrups.

The companies plan to install a 2-megawatt solar system which Conagra Brands said will meet approximately 35% of the facilities energy requirements.

The photovoltaic system is being developed under the Illinois Shines initiative, a state-administered incentive program supporting the development of new solar energy generation in Illinois. 

Under the program, the Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) from the system will be purchased by Ameren Illinois. Work on the project is set to begin this winter with completion slated for Spring 2020.

“At Conagra Brands, we strive to be mindful of our impact on the environment,” said Katya Hantel, director of sustainable development for Conagra Brands.

“Exploring renewable energy technologies is just one of the many ways the company is investing in a more sustainable future.”

Stan Allen, Chief Executive Officer for SolAmerica Energy, “SolAmerica is excited to partner with Conagra Brands to help bring large-scale renewable energy to Illinois.

“Our shared desire to pursue a project that would be both financially and environmentally beneficial was a recipe for success in bringing the deal together.”

As part of its broader commitment to environmental leadership, Conagra Brands said that it is also exploring renewable energy technologies at other facilities within its network.

Conagra Brands has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent per pound of production by 2020. In fiscal year 2018, the company’s Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions were approximately 645,000 metric tons.

Over the last decade, the company has deceased its Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 26 percent while lowering GHG intensity (emissions per pound of product produced) by 7.2 percent.

Conagra claims that approximately 93 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions come from natural gas and electricity.

Between fiscal year 2008 and fiscal year 2018, Conagra decreased its total electricity use by nine percent and decreased natural gas use by 18 percent.

The company’s energy intensity—the energy use per pound of product produced— has also increased by 2.5 percent for natural gas and by 14 percent for electricity.

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