Thanks to Wrigley Manufacturing Company and the Energy Department, your fresh breath could be solar powered. Wrigley, known for chewing gum and candy products, is harnessing the power of the sun to help run its Altoids manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The solar installation is a part of Wrigley’s “Sustainable in a Generation” effort to eliminate fossil fuel energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.
Using funds from the Energy Department’s State Energy Program, the company installed 240 rooftop solar panels (a 50.4 kilowatt array) on its Chattanooga facility in December 2010. The solar panels cover about one seventh of the plant’s roof, leaving plenty of room for expansion. The array generates more than 170,000 kilowatt hours of clean energy per year — about 3 percent of the plant’s energy use — and eliminates 117 tons of greenhouse gas emissions. During the first year of operation alone, the solar installation saved Wrigley more than $16,000 in electricity costs.
Wrigley is developing a strategy to minimize its impact on the environment, focusing on reducing fossil fuel energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and waste. From 2007 to 2011, Wrigley’s landfill waste decreased by 71.62 percent, greenhouse gas emissions by 2.37 percent and energy use by 7.75 percent.