One of Lebanon County’s major employers has taken a significant step toward renewable energy with the installation of an 800-kilowatt commercial solar array.
The 1,600 rooftop solar panels on Bake Crafters’ commercial baking facility/warehouse in Lebanon will offset a predicted 770 metric tons of carbon emissions and meet the energy needs of the plant.
Based in Tennessee, Bake Crafters is a family-owned, nationwide business with a presence in all 50 states that provides baking goods for K-12, colleges and universities, health care, military institutions, in-store bakeries and restaurants.
“We are pleased that Michael Byrd, owner of Bake Crafters, has taken a proactive approach and has invested in renewable energy,” Susan Eberly, president of the Lebanon Valley Economic Development Corp., said in an email. “This long-term approach can be a model that is adopted by many others in the industry. Green energy is an underutilized option and is a key to sustainability. When we recruited Bake Crafters to the county, we were certain that they would be a good corporate neighbor and a great asset to our community.”
The roof-mount system will also help Bake Crafters’ bottom line, creating a $131,000 direct improvement to yearly cash flow.
Here are some other numbers that are the equivalent of 770 metric tons of carbon emissions saved from the atmosphere:
· 1,910,378 miles not driven by gas-powered cars each year
· Enough energy to power 97 homes every year
· 86,602 gallons of gasoline not used every year
· 1,782 barrels of oil not used every year
In a statement, Byrd said:
“Our hope was to lower our overall carbon footprint and be an example to our industry colleagues that going green can be possible for everyone. We were happy to partner with Genie Solar Energy; their expertise and use of USA-made components was a big differentiator. They were able to make good on their promises of keeping the project on schedule.”
This milestone will help accomplish Bake Crafters’ long-term sustainability goals as well as lower its carbon emissions. The approximately 1.1 million kilowatt hours saved on utility bills will allow the company to increase its profitability and growth potential, rewarding its employees and customers.
“Few commercial enterprises get to have this kind of positive effect on the wider community, and that makes this a truly momentous achievement for all involved,” Bake Crafters said.
And this “economically sound decision” is only the first step in Bake Crafters’ mission to become a more sustainable business. The company is excited for what comes next, as the plan is to continue pursuing renewable energy sources and technologies as part of a long-term approach to greener operations.
Paula Wolf is a freelance writer