Yesterday in Hackettstown, New Jersey, Mars Chocolate flipped the switch of their shiny new 2 MW photovoltaic system. This pic may depict the popular candies catching some rays next to the new solar panels, but don’t worry, Mars still guarantees that M&Ms won’t melt before they reach your mouth! The Solar Garden sits on 18 acres of property that was beforehand just a vacant lot. Now enough electricity for one-fifth of the Hackettstown factory’s needs is produced from the system, meaning that every fifth M&M you eat was made courtesy of the sun. So gather up four friends and dole out those colorful candies, because each one you eat will be green(er).
The Mars Chocolate PV system is owned by PSEG Solar Source, who is also working on a number of other large solar installations around the country. PSEG Solar Source will be repaid for the system through a 30 percent federal tax credit, the sale of electricity to Mars and the sale of solar renewable energy credits to other power-generation companies. The Hackettstown factory, with its 28,000 panels, now has the largest solar system in NJ operated by a food manufacturer.
Yesterday’s flip-switching ceremony was attended by the famous trio of M&Ms, Victoria Mars (ombudsman for the company) and a crowd of 150 people. Engineering for the Solar Garden was performed by Juwi Solar Inc. and the panels were manufactured by First Solar. Emissions are expected to be reduced to the equivalent of removing 190 cars of the road annually.
Photos via PSEG