Inside General Mills
General Mills honored for solar panel project
July 29, 2010
The first General Mills facility in the U.S. to produce electricity through solar panels had its own political moment in the sun when the governor of Massachusetts and several state and local officials praised its Methuen, Mass., facility for a commitment to sustainable energy and job creation.
“General Mills, you set an enviable example – not only for the Merrimack Valley and Massachusetts but for the entire nation,” said Gov. Deval Patrick in a video message to those gathered to celebrate in late July the recently completed project. “Thank you for your corporate and environmental stewardship and for your generational responsibility.”
The panels atop the warehouse produce 110 kilowatts of electricity to supply about 55 percent of its annual electricity needs – 80 percent of its consumption in the summer and about 40 percent during the rest of the year.
Northern location, but plenty of sun
While a northern state like Massachusetts may seem like an unlikely place to install solar panels, the sun shines an average of 202 days per year in Methuen, making it a good location for generating solar power.
To help underwrite the solar panels, General Mills received a combination of state and federal incentives that are being used by Massachusetts to create more "green" jobs in the state.
“We will be the nation’s leader in energy efficiency over the next three years, investing more per capita than California,” said Patrick. “This is the recovery we are building.”
Massachusetts Commissioner of Energy Resources Philip Giudice, two state legislators – Sen. Steve Baddour and Rep. Barbara L’Italien – and Methuen Mayor William Manzi also attended the thank-you celebration.
Another example of investing in sustainability
The installation is the latest in a series of sustainability projects the company has invested in recently.
The General Mills facility in San Adrian, Spain now receives all of its electricity and one-third of its overall energy from renewable energy sources such as wind power.
General Mills is also constructing a biomass burner at its oat-milling facility in Fridley, Minn., that will burn leftover oat hulls from the milling process to produce about 90 percent of the steam needed to heat the plant and make oat flour.
Inside General Mills