Hormel Foods Corp., Austin, Minn., and IGS Solar, Dublin, Ohio, began construction on a solar energy project at the Hormel Foods Swiss American Sausage Co. facility in Lathrop, Calif. The project is slated for completion in July.

IGS will partner with PCI Solar, Austin, Texas, who will install the solar system, which will consist of 1,998 panels constructed on both roof and ground space. The project is projected to generate roughly 1.2 million kilowatt hours (kWh) per year — enough to supply more than 15% of the facility’s annual electricity consumption.

The new solar array will offset an estimated 869 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year that would otherwise be emitted by a conventional fossil fuel power plant. That amount of emissions avoided is also equivalent to removing 185 cars from the road annually or avoiding burning 950,419 pounds of coal. 

“We place great emphasis on minimizing our environmental impacts when producing food for customers and consumers around the world,” says Tom Raymond, director of environmental sustainability at Hormel Foods. “This project supports our environmental sustainability goals and is another example of the company’s commitment and support of renewable energy.”

IGS Solar will own, operate and maintain the array, and will assist Hormel Foods in integrating solar generation into its energy portfolio, while controlling the long-term energy costs for the buildings. 

“We’re not only excited about working with Hormel Foods, but we’re also looking forward to the economic benefits this project will yield for them,” says William Neverman, regional manager, IGS Solar. “We look forward to a long-standing partnership with Hormel Foods as they continue their focus on energy sustainability efforts.”

“We are honored to be installing the company’s first on-site solar project,” says Craig Floyd, general manager of PCI Solar. “Bringing this project to construction required close collaboration with Hormel Foods and IGS Solar, and we couldn’t have asked for better partners. We look forward to working together further.”