Sun Belle Announces New Green Initiative at Jessup, Maryland, Distribution Center
- by Chandler James
OXNARD, CA - Within the ever shifting and changing produce industry, innovation is the name of the game. As the focus moves continuously toward advances in sustainability, new initiatives aimed at decreasing environmental impact are becoming increasingly more essential.
Sun Belle Inc. has announced a new green initiative that is aimed at its 64,000-square-foot Jessup, Maryland, Distribution Center (DC). The program includes the installation of a solar powered system that is expected to drastically lower costs. Aurora Energy of Columbia, Maryland, teamed with Sun Belle to carry out the project.
“Due to our constant refrigeration demands, we sought a solution that would offset rising utility costs and make a positive environmental impact,” said Janice L. Honigberg, President. “Aurora Energy offered a perfect solution for us with the added benefit of being able to utilize land adjacent to our facility as a pollinator meadow.”
According to a press release, the new solar array includes utilizing SunPower P19-395-COM modules. The system that spans 33,500 square feet of the facility’s rooftop will offset 35 percent of the DC’s energy needs each year. The solar panels are set to generate 592 MWh annually—enough to power 48 homes. The new upgrade also offsets 420 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year as well.
“Sun Belle’s investment in rooftop solar capitalizes an underutilized asset—the rooftop of their facility. They have converted this warehouse roof space to a small power plant that can produce clean energy while saving money. It’s a win-win scenario,” explained Dr. Fariborz Majhouri, CEO of Aurora Energy.
While the first set of solar panels have already been installed, Sun Belle isn’t stopping there. A second round of solar installation is planned for later this fall, and will increase the solar output by an additional 287 MWh.
In addition to the renewable energy aspect of the company’s initiative, it will also be planting a pollinator meadow to reinforce its commitment to helping the environment. The meadow will feature a plethora of plants native to the mid-Atlantic coast like wild senna, showy tick trefoil, oxeye sunflower, partridge pea, big bluestem, and various varieties of switchgrass.
As more companies in our industry take exciting steps toward a sustainable future, what new innovations are in store, and how will it change the face of fresh produce? Keep reading ANUK for all of the most recent updates.