The Four Seasons Family of Companies Inc. last week activated a $1.6 million, 1.3 megawatt solar array at its main refrigerated distribution center in Ephrata.
The array, which took two months to install, is expected to provide approximately one-sixth of the building’s total demand for electricity in one year.
For years, Four Seasons officials had wanted to install a rooftop solar array, company officials said. But they chose first to focus on reducing power usage before producing power.
But with falling prices for solar panels and the completion of other energy-efficiency projects, officials said they felt the time was right.
“Ultimately, the actions we take and the way that we conduct business must benefit our children and our grandchildren,’ Nelson Longenecker, vice president of business innovation at Four Seasons, said in statement.
He noted that Four Seasons has reduced its electricity use by over 20 percent, water use by over 30 percent and natural gas usage by over 50 percent.
Four Seasons partnered with Namasté Solar, a Colorado-based solar company that designs, installs and maintains solar electric systems for homeowners, commercial property owners and utility-scale developers.
Namaste worked with New York-based Positive Energy NY LLC, PowerStream Solar & Electric LLC in Salisbury Township and Delta Electric Services LLC in Lebanon to install the 3,900 solar panels.
The project is expected to pay for itself in approximately five years.
“Knowing that our previously big empty roof is now harvesting clean energy is such a satisfying feeling,” Jason Hollinger, president of Four Seasons Family of Companies, said in a statement.
Based in East Cocalico Township, the Four Seasons Family of Companies includes: Four Seasons Produce Inc., a produce distributor; Sunrise Logistics Inc., a cold storage facility; Earth Source Trading Inc., a produce importer; and Sunrise Transport, a delivery service.