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DAYVILLE, Conn. -- Natural/organic wholesaler United Natural Foods, Inc (UNFI) dedicated a one-megawatt solar electric system Wednesday at the company's 487,000-square-foot distribution facility in Rocklin, Calif.
Developed and installed by North Chelmsford, Mass.-based American Capital Energy, the four-acre rooftop solar system is expected to generate about 1.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually, or enough to power about 226 typical homes.
As the system has qualified for a solar rebate from Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), the event featured the presentation of an oversized check for $2.1 million, which United Natural Foods earned through the PG&E-administered California Solar Initiative (CSI).
Through the CSI and the Self-Generation Incentive Program, PG&E has awarded a total of over $205 million in solar rebates to almost 900 customers.
When the solar array generates more electricity than UNFI needs, the power is exported back to the PG&E electrical grid, thus earning the wholesaler credit on electricity that it can draw on whenever it requires more electricity than the solar panels generate, such as at night.
The company has the largest warehouse capacity of any distributor in the natural product industry.
UNFI carries and distributes over 40,000 products to more than 18,000 customers across the United States. The company serves a wide variety of retail formats, among them conventional supermarket chains, natural product superstores, independent retail operators, and the foodservice channel.