Mars Chocolate has unveiled a new solar garden (aka solar farm or solar power project) at its Henderson chocolate factory in Nevada. Mars Chocolate produces M&Ms, as you may well know, as well as Las Vegas’ Ethel M chocolate and numerous other chocolate and candy options.
The new solar project provides the chocolate factory with 100% of its electricity. On Thursday, state and local government officials, executives from NV Energy, juwi solar Inc. (JSI), and Mars Chocolate North America leaders cut the ribbon on the new solar garden (just sounds nicer, doesn’t it?). Here are some details on the project:
- It includes 2,112 ground-mounted solar panels on 4.4 acres.
- The solar project “generates 1,258 megawatt hours of zero-emission electricity each year, offsetting 867 metric tons of greenhouse gas – the equivalent of removing approximately 170 vehicles from the road.”
- Put another way, it produces enough energy to power 115 Nevada homes.
- It is “the largest solar installation by a food manufacturer in Nevada.”
It’s not the largest solar project in the world, but it does what it needs to do and cuts a slice out of some overabundant greenhouse gas emissions.
Mars’ Commitment to Solar & Other Renewable Energy Sources (Considerable)
This isn’t Mars’ first foray into solar energy, of course. As I reported back in 2009, Mars turned on a solar garden at its headquarters in New Jersey back in November of that year. I remember a commenter getting on me for not including a photo of that project at that time — luckily, Mars released a photo of this new solar garden with the announcement in Vegas.
“At Mars Chocolate North America, we have the opportunity to make a difference in the world,” said Mike Wittman, vice president of supply. “We are proud of the investments we are making to ensure we are using the earth’s resources responsibly. This newest solar garden moves us closer to our goals of eliminating our carbon footprint at our sites by 2040 and using 100 percent renewable energy.”
No matter what you think of prepackaged chocolate, you have to appreciate that goal and this new solar project.
More on Mars’ Nevada Solar Garden
Additionally, over 700,000 annual visitors to the adjacent Ethel M Botanical Cactus Garden will be able to view the solar garden from a special vantage point dedicated to that. That’s one thing we sorely need — more eyes on live solar projects. It inspires others to follow suit, or at least helps to plant the idea in their heads.
Here are a few more details on the project:
“Mars will purchase all of the energy generated by the solar garden and JSI will own the project and its associated energy credits. Mars worked closely with NV Energy to ensure that the new installation met net metering requirements, enabling Mars to receive energy offsets from the utility based on the amount of energy their solar panels will produce.”
I'm the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular clean energy website in the world, and Planetsave, a leading green and science news site. I've been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and I've been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, bicycling, and wind energy for the past few years. You can also find my work on Scientific American, Reuters, Think Progress, GE's ecomagination site, several sites in the Important Media network, & many other places. To connect on some of your favorite social networks, go to zacharyshahan.com or click on some of the links below.