Cargill, Inc., Minneapolis, and TEVA Energy, LLC, Orlando, Fla., commissioned what is said to be the largest solar energy system at a meat processing facility in Cargill TEVA solar energyFresno, Calif.

Cargill’s Fresno beef processing plant added solar energy to pre-heat water used throughout the plant for food safety and sanitation purposes, reducing its fossil fuel energy requirements and the facility’s environmental footprint. This solar energy recovery system, coupled with an existing methane recovery system installed several years ago, reinforces the facility’s commitment to continually evaluating and incorporating renewable energy.

“The commissioning of this solar thermal system is another milestone toward truly sustainable production at our Fresno beef processing facility,” says Jon Nash, Cargill’s Fresno plant general manager. “We’re taking a comprehensive approach using several complementing technologies to achieve our sustainability goals. The TEVA solar system is an important component of that comprehensive initiative that reinforces our focus on environmental stewardship and resource conservation, while serving our customers and being a good corporate neighbor.”

“Energy savings were achieved almost immediately after the commissioning of the solar energy system at Fresno,” says Delshawn Brown, environmental manager at the Fresno facility. “At current energy rates, we’ll certainly meet the computer-modeled performance levels and deliver the expected benefits to Cargill, TEVA and the residents of the San Joaquin Valley.”

System performance is being monitored in real time by TEVA, Cargill and the state’s California Solar Initiative program through remote metering, as well as on-site monitoring equipment.

“TEVA Energy’s design and installation performance was stellar, and they worked closely with our team, always going the extra mile throughout the process,” says Ashley Apple, technical safety facilitator at the Fresno facility.

TEVA and its financier, Skyline Innovations, Inc., installed and own the solar system, eliminating the capital investment Cargill would otherwise need to make to gain the benefits from solar water heating. To finance the project, TEVA and Skyline aggregate incentives with the income stream from the solar energy sold to Cargill at rates below their natural gas rates.