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Big Y Foods Inc. has completed the installation of its new 3-acre solar array, which encompasses 2,178 solar panels at the grocer’s Store Support Center in Springfield, Mass. The annual electrical production yield is expected to be 750,000 kilowatt-hours, which will offset the company’s electrical consumption by 15 percent -- one-and-a-half months’ worth of power – at Big Y’s corporate offices and distribution center.
The solar array installation is the grocer’s third in Massachusetts. At Big Y World Class Market locations in Lee and Franklin, rooftop solar arrays have helped to offset electrical consumption since June 2012.
Real Goods Solar Energy, Western Mass Electric Co., and local contractors such as Cotton Tree Service and L&D Construction installed the panels over a five-month period. Employees and visitors are able to view the array’s electrical generation on a monitor in the company’s café.
An opening event slated for Thursday, June 27 at Big Y’s headquarters will feature state and local representatives, among them State Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Richard Sullivan, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, Center for Eco-Technology (CET) executive director John Majercak, and the center’s green business services director, Lorenzo Macaluso.
Big Y’s sustainability activities include a collaboration with the nonprofit CET, based in Pittsfield, Mass., to divert food waste from landfills across the state; earning Supermarket Recycling Program certification; participating in EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge; and installing electric car-charging stations at four of its Massachusetts locations.
Additional energy-efficient installations include full building management systems in each store to control lighting, refrigeration and other HVAC units; glass doors in all dairy and frozen food cases, along with electronically commutated motors; variable speed drives on rooftop air-handling units and cooking exhaust hoods; advanced refrigeration systems with reduced refrigerant charges; rooftop dehumidification units; highly energy efficient case motors; LED lighting with occupancy sensors; pull-down covers for open multideck cases; and efficient lighting design.
Such initiatives have helped the chain save more than 800,000 kilowatt-hours annually in energy consumption.
Noted Gary Kuchyt, Big Y’s manager of energy and sustainability, “Saving resources is important to us as a company -- not only is it good business, but it’s simply the right thing to do.”
Springfield-based Big Y, one of the largest independently owned supermarket chains in New England, has 61 locations in Connecticut and Massachusetts, with over 10,000 employees.