EDMONTON — Talk about sweet, sweet irony.
An array of 1,860 solar panels was just installed at The Ice Cream Depot, a 30,000-square-foot deep freezer in Nisku, Alta., south of Edmonton.
The privately funded setup generates 500kW, or half a megawatt, of electricity and will help the storage warehouse and distributer reduce its carbon footprint by 512 tonnes each year.
According to president Mike Rogiani, it’ll save the company about $50,000 per month.
“We wanted to lower our carbon footprint because we’re a power pig,” he told CTV News Edmonton.
“Our energy costs continually go up. We want to be able to mitigate those costs.”
At one point in the first two weeks of the array’s operation, it was providing 90 per cent of the facility’s power. That ratio will fluctuate depending on the season and even time of day.
“On a hot sunny day, the air conditioning load for the freezer and cooler unit is going to be the highest. That’s also the time of the day and of the year the solar array is going to produce the most power,” explained Curtis Craig, founder and president of installer Inferno Solar.
Inferno’s leasing model has become increasingly popular. The Ice Cream Depot’s array is one of five put up by Craig’s company in the area over a year.
Craig said solar energy will only become a better investment over time as coal is phased out.
Rogiani considers his company a trendsetter in the food and distribution industries.
“All the Amazons of the world and everyone else, we want to see you come on board now and follow in our footsteps as a small company.”
According to Inferno, the array at The Ice Cream Depot is the seventh largest in western Canada and fourth largest built with private money.
It’s not the company’s only green initiative. The Ice Cream Depot also boasts 20,000 square feet of refrigerated and dry storage space in Nisku. The refrigeration system is carbon dioxide based, rather than ammonia, which is better for the environment and more efficient.
Among a dozen brands it distributes, the company ships the Canadian Chapman’s label, Blue Bunny, Da Vinci Gelato, and its own made-in-house Mike’s Cups to B.C. through Manitoba.
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