Gatorade Warehouse Drinks Up the Sun

Aug 20, 2008 2:40 AM  By

Ever thought about going solar with your warehouse?

That’s what Gatorade, a division of PepsiCo, is doing with its 797,000 sq.-ft. manufacturing/warehouse/distribution center in Tolleson, AZ.

The company is installing a photovoltaic solar energy system that is expected to generate more than 760,000 kWh per year for the DC, which houses up to 5.5 million cases of Gatorade at a time.

SPG Solar, which is handling installation, says it’s the largest solar energy initiative in Arizona. Arizona’s Salt River Project will provide $1.2 million as an incentive for the project – although the total cost of the project has not been revealed.

SPG Solar will begin installing the nearly 2,500 rooftop panels starting in September. The project is expected to be completed by November.

PepsiCo says the initiative will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 491 metric tons per year. The company is developing sustainable energy and water programs for other manufacturing sites, including an ambitious plan to take its Frito-Lay snack-chip facility in Casa Grande, AZ, nearly entirely off public electric, natural gas and water supplies. The company also installed a large solar system at a Fullerton, CA, facility last month.

Seeking to cut energy costs and go “green,” companies are increasingly adding solar energy systems to their warehouses. Costco, for example, installed solar panels on four of its warehouses last year – including two in Hawaii and two in California.

Costco’s 156,000 sq.-ft. warehouse in Kona, for example, has been outfitted with a 680-kilowatt solar electric system, enough to supply power to about 111 homes. In Hawaii, companies can get tax credits of up to $500,000 for installing such systems, plus electric bills can be offset with surplus power if businesses hooked up to the utility grid produce more than they use. In addition, the federal government offers a 30% tax credit.