Organic Valley joins community solar partnership - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Industrial, Solar, Sourcing Renewables  -  October 25, 2017

Organic Valley joins community solar partnership

Organic Valley, the largest cooperative of organic farmers in the U.S. and a leading organic brand, said Oct. 25 that it will soon cover 100% of its electric load through renewable energy with help from a new community solar partnership.

The organization is on a path toward carbon neutrality, and says the deal will make it the largest food company in the world to run entirely on renewable energy. The partnership with municipal agency Upper Midwest Energy Group and community and utility-scale solar developer OneEnergy Renewables is expected to initiate more than 12 MW of solar installations in Wisconsin. The electricity generated by the partnership will enable Organic Valley to cover all of its electric energy needs from renewable sources by 2019, and will also increase overall solar energy use in Wisconsin by 15%, the co-op said in a news release

Organic Valley will purchase renewable energy credits from the solar projects near their headquarters and distribution center, enabling the cooperative to be fully renewable-powered. Beyond the 12 MW project portfolio, an additional 17-plus MW expected to be constructed as well, resulting in close to 30 MW of new solar in the region. 

The company said all participating communities will receive lower and more stable electric costs and the environmental benefits of renewable power through the partnership. One unique element to the solar projects being created through the partnership: Rather than being planted with turf grass or covered in gravel, the installations will incorporate pollinator-friendly habitat into the design. Once complete, the meadows, filled with native flowering plants and grasses, will create as much bee and butterfly habitat as if 30,000 families were to each plant six-by-twelve-foot pollinator gardens, according to the release. 

Correction: A previous version of this story referenced Organic Valley as the largest food company in the world; the organization says it is the largest food company in the world to source 100% renewable sources.

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