Solar-powered chocolate factory

A huge solar facility is now providing 20 per cent of the peak energy consumed by a New Jersey manufacturing plant owned by Mars Chocolate North America.

A huge solar facility is now providing 20 per cent of the peak energy consumed by a New Jersey food manufacturing plant owned by Mars Chocolate North America.

The solar array, developed by PSEG Solar Source, a subsidiary of PSEG, is comprised of more than 28,000 ground-mounted solar panels on 18 acres adjacent to Mars Chocolate North America’s headquarters.

The solar garden provides 2MW of power during peak hours and will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 1,000 tonnes each year.

PSEG Solar Source owns the system, which is located on Mars Chocolate North America’s property, and Mars is contracted to purchase the entire output from it.

Solar energy company, juwi solar inc, located in Boulder, Colorado, performed the engineering, procurement and construction services for the system and will also be providing the initial operation and maintenance services. The system’s thin-film panels were provided by First Solar.

The state of New Jersey’s Energy Master Plan calls for 20 per cent of the state’s energy to come from renewable sources by the year 2020. The state has made significant inroads in the last few years, installing more than 100MW of solar energy, making it second only to California in terms of the amount of solar capacity installed.

PSEG Solar Source currently owns two other utility-scale solar projects – one in Florida and another in Ohio. Those projects, also developed with juwi solar inc, total 27MW and are expected to be completed by the end of next year. The assets are the first in a planned portfolio of solar facilities throughout the US to be developed, owned and operated by PSEG Solar Source.

Mars Chocolate North America is the US snack operations of Mars North America, with more than $7bn (£4.2bn) in annual sales in the US.