PORTLAND, Ore., Nov. 26, 2003 — The roof over the Kettle Foods potato chip production line in Salem, Ore., is now a solar power plant.
Kettle Foods, Inc., the Energy Trust of Oregon, Inc., Portland General Electric and the Oregon Department of Energy announced the completion of a large Northwest industrial solar installation at the food processor’s Salem facility.
Kettle Foods, a manufacturer of natural snacks, most notably Kettleà¢â€ž- Chips, is now home to a 114-kilowatt photovoltaic system.
During peak solar hours the system’s output is the equivalent of 25 percent of the company’s electricity demand. The solar energy system generates the equivalent of three to five percent of the company’s total electricity demand on an annual basis.
The solar array is projected to produce 3,000,000 kWh, over the next 25 years. That’s enough power to produce the equivalent of six million bags of potato chips. It is also estimated that 1,500 tons of CO2 will be reduced over the life of the system.
“Kettle Foods is always looking for ways to innovate. Beyond our ongoing product innovation, our commitment to solar energy is by far our boldest step. We are always looking at opportunities that make sense and are the right thing to do,” says Marc Cramer, General Manager of Kettle Foods.
“This project should dispel the myth that Oregon isn’t a good location for solar energy,” says Peter West, Renewable Energy Director, Energy Trust of Oregon.
“The Oregon Department of Energy has been promoting solar energy for decades,” says Michael W. Grainey, Director of the Oregon Department of Energy. “The potential for solar to provide power with almost no environmental impact makes it a clear choice for the future.”
Kettle Foods sought support from the Energy Trust through the nonprofit’s Open Solicitation Program. The Energy Trust is providing a financial incentive of $112,000 for the system. Through a net metering arrangement, surplus power will flow back to PGE and be available for the larger community. After incentives and state energy tax credits, the solar system will pay back its net cost in approximately seven years.