The largest food bank in the country is now making an even bigger impact. The Houston Food Bank has added 160 panels to its existing system. Now, the 440 panel array will provide 154,000 kWh of energy per year to the non-profit.
Last year, we reported that Green Mountain Energy and NRG donated a 280 panel, 80,000 kWh array, made possible in part by Green Mountain Energy’s Sun Club. With the addition of the new project, the food bank will save enough money on electricity costs to provide an additional 30,000 meals each year.
Providing solar for the food bank was truly a labor of love for the community. Through the Sun Club, a spin-off of the utility founded in 1997, $100,000 in donations went toward the first phase of the food bank solar array. Fast forward another year, and the new addition is funded by Green Mountain’s residential customers, through the SolarSPARC program.
SolarSPARC (Smart People Accelerating Renewable Change) was the first Texas residential electricity plan backed by 100 percent solar. For each customer enrolled in the plan, Green Mountain Energy contributes $4 each month to increase solar availability, effectiveness and affordability.
“We know our customers embrace renewable energy and solar in particular,” said Mark McShane, vice president of Texas Retail, Green Mountain Energy Company. “SolarSPARC enables all customers to help us ‘change the way power is made’ by increasing demand for solar and leveraging our experience in renewable energy to offer Texans more clean electricity options.”
“We think Texas can be just as well known for solar as it is for wind, and with this product we’re giving customers a new way to drive local development and tap into Texas’ potential to be a solar power house,” continues McShane. “The more customers that sign up for this plan, the more solar we’ll be able to build.”
Not content to stop at the addition of the solar panels, the Houston Food Bank and Green Mountain have also entered into a Sustainable Business Partnership. Green Mountain will help evaluate their building efficiency and offer solutions toward sustainability. Through pilot tests and research, the two companies will develop a greater understanding of sustainability solutions.
Top photo credit: Faungg’s Photos; Houston, TX/flickr.com