Commercial, Energy Efficiency, GHG Emissions, Commercial, Solar - April 7, 2023
United Natural Foods Adds Solar, LED Lighting
United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI), a wholesale grocer, announced the completion of its largest solar array investment to date at its Howell, N.J., distribution center. The 3.2-MW roof-mounted solar array is the company’s eighth solar installation and nearly three times larger than any previous UNFI installation.
The rooftop array contains 7,171 solar panels and was developed to generate an amount of renewable electricity approximately equivalent to the annualized energy demand at the Howell distribution center. The system is projected to generate an estimated 3.8 million KWh of electricity per year, preventing approximately 2,700 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from being released into the atmosphere annually.
UNFI also plans to complete LED energy lighting upgrades at 33 distribution centers that the company estimates will save approximately $15 million over a 10-year period once completed. Upon project completion, all 56 of UNFI’s distribution centers will have LED lighting, which is anticipated to save the company nearly 2 million KWh of electricity usage per year.
“Energy efficiency is an important focus area for our Better for All Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) strategy, and we are excited to see the Howell solar array come online,” said UNFI Chief Executive Officer Sandy Douglas in a statement. “This newest solar array coupled with our current LED lighting projects at a majority of our distribution centers are expected to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions year-over-year and represent a milestone on our path to building a food system that is better for our people, communities, and the planet. These efforts are also expected to reduce our operational costs and help us become more efficient, and that’s a positive for our business.”
UNFI worked with PowerFlex, a national provider of solar, storage, and electric vehicle charging solutions for commercial and industrial customers, to complete the installation of the Howell solar array.