Advancing General Mills’ commitment to renewable energy, the company recently announced a major solar energy initiative at its Methuen, Mass., facility. With the installation of solar panels now complete, solar energy is expected to supply nearly 80 percent of the warehouse’s summertime power needs, and 40 percent of its needs the rest of the year.

The site, which produces yogurt, is the company’s first U.S. facility to produce its own electricity via solar energy. Today, at an on-site celebration, employees, government officials saw the solar panels first hand by way of a sky lift, which raised them to the roof for observation. The panels were designed and installed by clean energy company Nexamp.

“The enthusiasm of the work force and the partnership with state and local government led the way for us to install the solar panels,” said Jon Russett, energy manager in General Mills’ Supply Chain operations. “General Mills is committed to continuously improving its environmental performance.” 

What solar power will do at General Mills’ Methuen:

  • The panels provide a year-round average of 55 percent of the annual electricity consumed by the warehouse building.
  • The panels generate enough electricity (110.7 kilowatts) to power approximately 12 average Massachusetts homes every year
  • Solar power will offset more than 112,000 lbs of carbon dioxide annually – this is the equivalent of taking 10 cars off the road.

The company continues to invest in renewable energy as part its commitment to protect and conserve the natural resource base its business depends upon. General Mills’ San Adrian, Spain, facility now receives all of its electricity and one third of its overall energy from renewable energy sources such as wind power. The company is also constructing a biomass burner at its oat-milling facility in Fridley, Minn., that will burn leftover oat hulls from the milling process to produce about 90 percent of the steam needed to heat the plant and make oat flour.

“As we continue to work on sustainability across our supply chain, we remain confident that the groundwork we’ve laid will continue to show even more progress in the future,” said Russet.

About General Mills
One of the world's leading food companies, General Mills operates in more than 100 countries and markets more than 100 consumer brands, including Cheerios, Häagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso, Progresso, Yoplait, Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen, and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, General Mills had fiscal 2010 global net sales of US$16 billion, including the company’s $1.2 billion proportionate share of joint venture net sales.