Solar power is rapidly becoming a resource with exponential benefits. As part of Mercer Food’s Sustainable Saturday series, we outline the benefits of solar parks, and what they can do to make our world a more sustainable, healthier place.

Solar parks utilize unused space

Sustainability and conservation are often associated with doing more with resources that are already available, and solar parks do exactly that. Mercer Foods installed a solar park on an unused area of property adjacent to our main facility. On any given day, the solar park powers 15 to 20 percent of Mercer’s operations, and on some days up to 60 percent.

From abandoned lots to empty parking lots, solar parks utilize space that is otherwise under-utilized. Solar park designers often think beyond the lot, building solar fixtures and parks into roofs or on the sides of buildings. Japan and the United States have even launched projects that utilize water reservoirs, with one project in Japan having the potential to power 5,000 homes by the beginning of 2018. These “floatovoltaics” have the added benefit of protecting water from evaporation that might be caused by drought.

The sun is an abundant resource

The sun is the most readily available resource available. Solar technology has advanced sufficiently to allow the collection of healthy rays even in cloudier environments such as Seattle or Portland. New solar facilities are overturning the idea that solar power requires a sunny environment. In fact, rain helps clean dust and dirt away from the panels, which helps curb buildup and boost efficiency.

Solar technology is powerful and efficient

In the past, solar technology was expensive and not necessarily the most efficient source of energy. However, over the past decade, the efficiency and cost effectiveness of this technology has grown dramatically.

Since 2007, the cost of installing a rooftop solar system has decreased by almost 50 percent. Back in 2004, when Arnold Schwarzenegger was governor of California, he began an initiative to create one million rooftop solar panels by 2017. The program is well on its way to completion. California (Mercer Food’s home base of operations) leads in some of the largest solar farms in the world. Solar Star Farm and Topaz Solar Farm are two of the highest-producing, generating more than 1000 megawatts of energy.

Mercer is committed to creating the highest quality freeze-dried food, while keeping a close eye on sustainability. If you are curious about what freeze-dried can do for your next project, contact us, or get in touch on Twitter or Facebook.