At the Washtenaw Food Hub—where we receive deliveries, prepare fruits and veggies, freeze and store inventory, and have a CSA pick up location—the food isn’t the only things that’s local.
This spring, 608 Michigan-made solar panels were installed at the Food Hub, and they’re expected to produce nearly 50 megawatts of energy in the coming year–enough energy to power all the Hub’s activity. The solar panels are a combination of roof-mounted and ground-mounted crystalline silicon panels. They were manufactured in Saginaw Township by Suniva, supplied by employee-owned wholesale company McNaughton McKay Electric, and installed by Michigan-based company Homeland Solar.
That means that Locavorious’ refrigerators, freezers, and kitchen space are now powered by local, sustainable energy! We’re absolutely ecstatic.
The Food Hub’s switch from fossil fuels to solar energy was pioneered by Food Hub founders Richard Andres and Deb Lentz. Andres and Lentz applied for and received a grant for 25% of the cost of the solar panels from the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program, and The Food Hub will also receive a 30% federal tax credit at the year’s end for its use of solar energy.
“It’s been gratifying to see this project unfold using Michigan-made materials,” said Mark Ferda of McNaughton-McKay. “Once we learned about the Food Hub’s commitment to Michigan materials, we knew Suniva panels would be the perfect fit due to their new manufacturing plant in neighboring Saginaw, MI.”
Now that’s what we like to call harnessing local power.
Are you curious about how we’re harnessing local energy? Stop by the Food Hub anytime and check out the panels for yourself!
– Maggie Cease, Local food system enthusiast, Fulbright Scholar, and Locavorious writer