Dried Fruit Plant Goes Solar
By Alicia Malaby
Published: Tuesday, Dec. 02, 2008
A packing plant that's known for its dried fruit is now harvesting the sun's rays for solar power.
Mariani Packing Company installed a solar array with 5,800 panels covering seven acres at its packaging and processing facility in Vacaville. The solar panels will provide the 750,000 square foot facility with 1.1 megawatts of electricity which is about 25 percent of the company's utility needs.
"It's going to offset about $250,000 worth of bills we would normally pay to PG&E," said Mark Mariani, chairman and CEO of the family-owned business. The panels, which were installed by SunEdison and groSolar, will allow the packing company to purchase power at greatly reduced prices. Mariani also said that the installation of the panels is good for the environment. "It's the right thing to do because we're going to offset our utility costs down the road," he said, adding adding that the sun's power had been used many years ago to dry fruit. Mariani Packing Company is the largest privately-owned, dried fruit manufacturer in the world. It moved operations from San Jose to Vacaville in 2000.