Snyder's-Lance delivers on solar power promise

by Lucy Sutton
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lime energy After a nine-month installation process, Snyder's-Lance, Inc. completed what it calls the largest ground-based solar farm in Pennsylvania. Covering 26 acres and composed of 15,092 solar panels, the 3.5-megawatt solar farm is located across from the corporate headquarters and manufacturing plant in Hanover, PA.

Expected to generate 4 million kilowatt-hours and save close to 30% of the current energy costs for the Hanover facility, the solar farm will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in excess of 230 million pounds of carbon dioxide over a 25-year period, according to the company. As a comparison, the energy created from the solar field equals more than 111 million miles not driven by a medium-sized car, and more than 11 million trees would need to be planted to equal the same level of carbon dioxide reduction.

"This is a very exciting time in the history of our company," said Carl Lee, president and COO, Snyder's-Lance. "The solar farm shows the commitment that Snyder's-Lance has made to creating snack products in a more sustainable way. Our goal has always been to make 'better for you' snacks and now they are also better for the earth as well."

The solar installation, managed by RMK Solar, started in September of last year and took nine months to complete. Plans for the solar farm began in 2009 when Snyder's-Lance implemented five-year sustainability goals that included reducing energy, natural gas and greenhouse gas usage by 15% each, as well as reducing solid waste by 30%.

According to the company's website, so far this year, Snyder's-Lance has reduced electricity by 3.7%, natural gas by 6.8%, greenhouse gas emissions by 7.5%, trash waste by 5%, product waste by 24.3% and packaging waste by 18.3% compared with 2008-2009 results. Over the past eight years, it has reduced packaging waste by 45.3% and product waste by 56%.

Other initiatives included development of renewable and compostable packaging that is currently available nationwide. The company uses water-based ink on its product bags, sells food waste to farms to use for animal feed and encourages its vendors to adopt environmentally friendly policies.

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