Wrigley lays out solar panels as they were mint to be

Wrigley lays out solar panels as they were mint to be

April 23rd, 2011 by Ellis Smith in Business Around the Region

• What: 50.4 kilowatt-hour solar array on Wrigley's Jersey Pike plant in Chattanooga. The plant, which manufactures Altoids mints, employs more than 250 people. The solar array can be seen by incoming planes arriving at the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport.

• Company: Wrigley, a candy manufacturer, has committed to a "zero carbon footprint," along with no impact on water quality and no waste to the landfill. It will try to achieve this goal within 29 years.

• How's it green: The system produces 3 percent of the plant's energy usage, according to project manager Anne Mahoney, but there is plenty of room to expand. The installation covers about a seventh of the plant's roof and can be expanded. In 2007, the factory worked with local stormwater authorities to create a compost filtration system that keeps harmful sediments and pollutants out of groundwater.

• Why do it this way: About $62.5 million in federal stimulus dollars funded the Volunteer State Solar Initiative, which in turn helped fund 109 solar projects across Tennessee. According to the Tennessee Solar Institute, Wrigley's solar panels were funded in part by a grant. The money helps the company pursue its objectives for complete environmental sustainability, according to Bruce Verberg, plant manager at Wrigley.

• Other solar plants in the area: Top Flight Inc. has installed a 197.40 kwh solar array at its Chattanooga location on Central Avenue. Sequatchie Cove Creamery has installed a 28.20 kwh solar array at its Coppinger Cove Road facility in Sequatchie. Nearly a dozen other solar installations are under way in the Chattanooga area, according to the Tennessee Solar Institute.