Pepperidge Farm fires up a new solar facility in Connecticut

Campbell Soup Co. (NYSE: CPB), in partnership with BNB Renewable Energy Holdings and SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR), announced April 7 that a 1-MW solar array at its Pepperidge Farm bakery in Bloomfield, Conn., has officially come online.

Commercial operation for the solar array, which is generating the equivalent of 15% of the bakery’s annual energy demand, began on Dec. 26, 2014. The ground-mounted, fixed-tilt array comprises 2,720 high-efficiency SunPower solar panels and sits on five acres of land leased from Pepperidge Farm. In its first year, the array is projected to produce more than 1.7MM kilowatt-hours of electricity.

The solar array in Bloomfield is the second largest to be installed at facilities owned by Campbell, Pepperidge Farm’s parent company, and it is one of the very few solar arrays operating at manufacturing sites in the industry. By 2020, Campbell aims to reduce energy use by 35% per ton of product produced and source at least 40% of the energy used by the company from renewable or alternative energy sources.

“We have been proud to work with our partners BNB and SunPower, along with the town of Bloomfield, to complete construction of this renewable installation,” said Harry Pettit, Manager of Systems and Infrastructure Engineering at Pepperidge Farm. “Pepperidge Farm has agreed to purchase the equivalent of 100% of the electricity produced by the system for 20 years.”

Pepperidge Farm and BNB Renewable Energy, its corporate partner on renewable projects, began development of the project in 2012. A key to the project’s success is a power purchase agreement (PPA) under which Pepperidge Farm buys electricity at rates that are competitive with retail electricity, providing a hedge against rising electricity rates while supporting renewable energy development. Through Connecticut’s Low and Zero Emissions Renewable Energy Credit Program, administered by Eversource Energy (formerly Connecticut Light & Power) and the United Illuminating Co., BNB secured an agreement with Eversource for the utility to purchase the solar renewable energy credits and environmental benefits associated with the system.

SunPower, a leading global solar technology and energy services provider, provided engineering, procurement and construction services for the project, and the project was financed through PNC Energy Capital LLC. With the closing of financing, SunPower, working with BNB, will provide operations and maintenance services for the life of the system.

BNB and SunPower previously collaborated with Campbell on a 9.8-MW solar array at Campbell’s production facility in Napoleon, Ohio. That solar array came online in December 2011.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.