A large solar power project, combined with programs designed to increase energy efficiency, has yielded impressive results for CF Fresh, a leading organic produce marketer based in Sedro-Woolley, WA. A newly completed analysis of both programs shows measurable results in both conservation and energy production over the past five years.
In August 2007, the company installed 130 Sanyo HIP 195 solar panels and four SunnyBoy 6000 Inverters on the roof of its Sedro-Woolley office building.At the same time, the firm launched an initiative to reduce the amount of electricity consumed.
"This project is truly sustainable both financially and environmentally," Steve Mackey, executive vice president and chief financial officer, who is also part owner of CF Fresh, said in a press release. "While the upfront investment was considerable, solar technology has advanced to the point where the life expectancy of the solar system far exceeds the expected cost recovery period on the project."
CF Fresh's rooftop solar installation has averaged just over 20,000 KWH produced annually, a good result given the rainy climate of northwestern Washington state. In 2008 CF Fresh produced 37 percent of the total electricity used at their Sedro-Woolley office, and in 2012 that grew to over 43 percent.
"Solar systems generate electricity from light rather than heat, so I would encourage any company, regardless of geographic location, to check out the viability of a solar project," Mr. Mackey added in the press release. "At CF Fresh, we took the time to evaluate all potential energy savings; the project included upgrading to more efficient light fixtures, upgrading HVAC systems, replacing incandescent bulbs with compact florescent, replacing CRT computer monitors with LCD flat screens, and installing windows to take advantage of natural light, among other things."
Prior to 2007, CF Fresh's annual electrical consumption had increased an average of 7.5 percent per year. Since the implementation of its conservation program, the company has seen a reduction in annual electrical usage every year. The total energy used in 2012 was 12 percent lower than the electricity used in 2006.
CF Fresh, a pioneer in the marketing of Northwest organic tree fruits and a leading U.S. supplier of certified organic fresh fruits and vegetables to wholesalers, retailers and distributors, offers customers a year-round supply of organic apples, pears, onions and potatoes, as well as stone fruits and other seasonal items.