Allen Harim, a leading producer and processor of chicken on Delmarva, broke ground on a multi-million dollar solar project Monday on a six-acre parcel of land near its Harbeson, Del., processing facility.
“This project is in line with our strategic goals of environmental sustainability moving forward in Delaware,” said CEO Steve Evans. “We are delighted that we are also going to help Delaware meet its green energy goals set forth in the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard.”
The company signed a 20-year lease agreement with developer SolarSense, an affiliate of Alternative Energy Development Group from Berwyn, Pa. The plans call for the installation of 1.57 MW of solar, which will produce 2.3 million kWh of power each year, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1,616 metric tons per year. Allen Harim has agreed to purchase the power produced through the solar panels, and the system will be interconnected to Delmarva Power.
“Congratulations to Allen-Harim on undertaking this important project to generate a significant portion of its electricity needs from solar energy,” said David Small, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. “From 2008 to present, Delaware has been able to increase its use of solar energy by more than 3,000 percent thanks to the leadership and commitment of companies like Allen-Harim and thousands of residents who are relying on cleaner, renewable power.”
The energy produced by the solar panels, which when laid out will be about 4.5 football fields in length, will supply approximately 11 percent of the energy used at the Harbeson facility.
“This project is projected to save Allen Harim 16 percent in energy costs during the first year of operation, and contribute to Allen Harim’s corporate environmental sustainability goals,” said Chris Fraga, CEO of Alternative Energy Development Group.
The project will be owned and operated by Onyx Renewable Partners, L.P., a renewable energy company owned by funds managed by global investment giant Blackstone. “We are proud to work with Allen Harim and SolarSense on this project,” said Matthew Rosenblum, CEO of Onyx. “Delaware is an emerging market in the renewable sector, and it is a privilege to be a part of a collaborative effort to make a meaningful impact in assisting the State to meet its objectives.”
By law, energy suppliers in the state of Delaware have to purchase 25 percent of the power from renewable energy sources like solar and wind energy and specifically 3.5 percent from solar power.
Construction will begin in early November. Local contractors and employees will be hired wherever possible, Fraga said. The project is expected to be operational within three months.
Attending the ceremony on Monday were federal, state and local officials include U.S. Rep. John Carney, (D-Delaware), State Senator Brian Pettyjohn, and Sussex County Councilman Michael Vincent, among others.
Allen Harim will be working with Alternative Energy Development Group over the coming months to review its energy usage at each of their facilities, looking for ways to reduce consumption, reduce energy supply costs, and to become more environmentally sustainable wherever possible.