SALISBURY, Md. - Governor Martin O'Malley and other Maryland dignitaries today celebrated the completion of one of the largest commercially owned solar power systems in the eastern United States at Perdue Incorporated's corporate headquarters. Executives from project partners Perdue, Standard Solar, Inc. and Washington Gas Energy Services (WGES), as well as state and local elected officials and business leaders attended an open house at the site to observe the array of 5,040 solar panels.
"By demonstrating through smart, targeted investments that we're committed to solar, we position Maryland as a leader in solar energy," said Governor O'Malley. "We also help attract green businesses to our state and make it easier for companies like Perdue to make the commitment to a long-term investment in renewable energy. The strategies we're using as a state to advance the job-creating, planet-saving power of solar energy are helping us lead the way toward a greener future — right now, and in the future."
The installation on six acres of Perdue property is the company's latest initiative supporting its commitment to being environmentally friendly. The Salisbury installation will supply electricity to adjacent Perdue Corporate headquarters, and is the final phase of nearly 12,000 panels installed at two Perdue facilities.
"Completion of this project is another step foward in our commitment to environmental responsibility," said Jim Perdue, chairman, Perdue Incorporated. "Stewardship is one of Perdue's core values, so this is a perfect fit for the way we do business."
The panels are owned by WGES and were installed by Standard Solar. Perdue will purchase green electricity generated by the solar panels at guaranteed prices. The first phase of the installation is in Bridgeville, Del., and was completed in August 2011.
Both systems will generate a combined average of 3,700-megawatt hours of electricity each year, or the amount of power used by 340 typical U.S. homes. At peak production, the panels will produce as much as 90 percent of the electrical demand for each Perdue facility.
"We are pleased to begin powering our operations with clean, renewable energy while lowering our energy costs, demonstrating that environmental responsibility is also good business," said Steve Schwalb, Perdue's vice president of environmental sustainability. Schwalb estimated the clean electricity from the solar panels will reduce carbon emissions by 3,000 tons per year, the equivalent of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from 300,000 gallons of gasoline per year, or nearly 4.5 million gallons through the life of the 15-year contract.
"This installation is so much more than just an environmental statement for Perdue, it is also an ideal way for the company to manage its energy costs now and into the future," said Scott Wiater, president, Standard Solar. "We commend them for their forward thinking and their leadership in embracing renewable energy."
Perdue is engaged in other alternative energy initiatives, including a biogas-to-energy project at its Cromwell, Ky., poultry processing facility and a biomass burning installation at its Cofield, N.C., soybean processing plant.
Additionally, the company is currently renovating its corporate office to the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Gold standards. Ten years ago, Perdue built the nation's first commercial poultry litter-processing plant, the only process that is verifiably removing excess nutrients from the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
"We thank Jim Perdue and his organization for their commitment to the environment and for their confidence in us and our partners at Standard Solar," said Harry Warren, president of WGES. "As a leading competitive energy supplier in the state, we are committed to expanding our solar investment portfolio here, and we thank the governor and the legislature for their continuing support for competitive energy markets that make these investments possible."
View a time-lapse video of construction of Perdue's new solar farm at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwZz47Qkx7Q.
The Perdue Family of Companies includes Perdue Foods and Perdue AgriBusiness, family-owned companies dedicated to becoming the most-trusted names in food and agricultural products. The PERDUE® brand is the number-one brand of fresh chicken in the eastern United States, and Perdue Farms offers a growing roster of quality food products for consumers and foodservice. Perdue AgriBusiness ranks among the top US grain companies and is a leading processor, merchandiser and exporter of agricultural commodities. Privately held and family-run for three generations, the two companies employ more than 21,000 associates dedicated to enhancing the quality of life through innovative food and agricultural products. For more information, visit www.perdue.com®.
About Washington Gas Energy Services
Washington Gas Energy Services, Inc. is one of the largest competitive providers of electricity and natural gas in the mid-Atlantic region and supplies more than 350,000 customers in Maryland, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Headquartered in Herndon, Va., Washington Gas Energy Services is an affiliate of Washington Gas and a subsidiary of WGL Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:WGL). For more information, contact Alicia Moran, 410-991-7027 or email@example.com.
About Standard Solar
Standard Solar, Inc. is a leader in the full-service development, construction, integration, financing and installation of solar electric systems. Since 2004, Standard Solar has been the partner of choice to make solar energy financially accessible, helping customers through financing options, including Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and navigating expanded federal and state and local tax credits. Named one of the Fastest Growing Private Companies in America in 2010 and 2011 by Inc. magazine, Standard Solar is headquartered in Rockville, MD. For more information, please visit www.standardsolar.com, or contact Keira Shein at WilkinsonShein Communications at 410-363-9494 or firstname.lastname@example.org.