In celebration of Earth Week, GIANT Food Stores announced the completion of the first phase of a 2.4-MW solar project at its Carlisle, Pennsylvania, support office. GIANT company officials marked the completion of phase one, a 625-kW rooftop solar array, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, attended by Pennsylvania Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Patrick McDonnell, Pennsylvania State Representative Barbara Gleim as well as representatives from EnterSolar, the project’s developer, and PPL Electric.
“There’s no better time than Earth Week to celebrate this significant milestone in GIANT’S sustainability program and it’s especially gratifying to do so at our home office,” said Manuel Haro, VP of strategy, GIANT Food Stores. “At GIANT, we strive to make every day Earth Day, and that’s why we continuously explore new and innovative ways to reduce our operational footprint. Our rooftop solar project is just one of many ways we are making good on the promise we made to the communities we serve — to be a good neighbor and do our part to protect and preserve the planet for future generations.”
GIANT’S solar project is being designed and developed by EnterSolar and managed onsite by Retail Business Services, the services company of Ahold Delhaize USA. The project began in December 2018 and received permission to operate last month. The rooftop solar project consists of 1,812 panels that provide effective powering of a portion of the building’s energy needs from a renewable onsite source.
“Addressing climate change and reducing our reliance [on] fossil fuels will require commitments from companies like GIANT to take an active role in changing how we think about the energy we use,” said Patrick McDonnell, secretary at the DEP. “Switching to renewable sources and increasing energy efficiency will both save the company money and improve the environment.”
During months of high solar resource and low building energy needs, the solar array can provide more energy than the building consumes. The excess solar energy is metered, sent back into the surrounding utility grid and absorbed by other homes and business in the area, enabling GIANT to receive energy credits that can be used in low solar production months. GIANT is still connected to the PPL grid for electric supply when solar energy is insufficient for the needs of the building.
Work on the second phase of the project, a 1.83 MW ground-mounted solar array, is underway. The ground-mounted array will consist of an estimated 4,968 panels spanning nearly five acres of land on the corporate campus.
The company also plans to incorporate ‘pollinator habitats’ to support bees and other pollinators in an effort to address bee colony loss. Pennsylvania is one of the states being hit hardest, with a honeybee die-off rate of more than 60%. GIANT will work with EnterSolar and local landscape and environmental teams to plant native plant species and flowers that are welcoming to these important insects and will help them thrive in the region.
Once completed later this year, the entire solar system will offset 100% of the electricity needs of the Carlisle facility. The 2.4-MW system will produce more than 3 million kWh hours annually, providing both economic and environmental benefits to GIANT and the Carlisle community at large.
“We are proud to partner with GIANT to bring its renewable solar energy goals to life,” said Steven Engelmann, director, EnterSolar. “The rooftop and ground-mounted solar projects are evidence of GIANT’S on-going commitment to sustainability and the environment, and we applaud GIANT for leading by example across the Commonwealth and beyond.”
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