TEXAS – Ben E. Keith Beverages, in partnership with Freedom Solar, has completed the installation of a 2,430-solar panel array at its Austin distribution center and will soon kick off installation of more than 1,000 solar panels at its Llano distribution center -- making it Llano County’s first commercial solar panel project.
Approximately 62% of the Austin distribution center’s energy will now be generated by solar power, which is anticipated to produce long-term energy savings of more than $2.5 million. Additionally, the City of Austin, through Austin Energy, has a local performance-based incentive program that will credit Ben E. Keith on the system’s production over the next ten years.
As Llano County’s first commercial solar installation, which helps spearhead the area’s solar initiatives and incentive programs for businesses, the branch’s 1,020 solar panels will account for 39% of their needed power for a projected future savings of $1.7 million.
“Going solar wasn’t just a financial decision. The energy cost savings are a proven aspect of this initiative -- and certainly an important factor in our thought process -- but Ben E. Keith Beverages also recognizes the importance of sustainability and incorporating solar energy is an opportunity to make a lasting positive impression on the health of our communities. Clean energy is an environmental choice that is good for our people, and good for business.” said Jon Thompson, Ben E. Keith’s Vice President of Operations.
The new solar systems will pay for themselves in approximately ten years. This move will offset dependence on higher-cost utility power and is expected to deliver more than $4 million in savings for Ben E. Keith’s Austin and Llano operations over the life of the systems.
“Ben E Keith has made a significant investment in the future of their company and our community by installing one of the largest rooftop solar arrays in Central Texas on their Austin facility,” said Kyle Frazier, Sales Director at Freedom Solar. “Texas has always been an energy pioneer, from our oil and gas history to wind and now solar. We love to see large empty roofs become distributed power plants that are producing the energy of the future!”