Kikkoman Foods to install solar panels on soy sauce factory in California

RP news wires

Kikkoman Foods Inc., America’s No. 1 soy sauce producer, will install a 106.6-kilowatt DC solar electric (photovoltaic) system at its facility in Folsom, Calif. The new system will significantly reduce the need for fossil fuel-based electricity to power production and allow the company to sell solar electricity back to the grid when the facility is not in operation.

Respecting the environment has been at the center of Japanese culture, and Kikkoman’s corporate culture, for centuries. Japanese companies with U.S. operations are increasingly choosing renewable energy to reduce their impact on the environment and save money on their monthly electric bill.

Kikkoman chose to install a solar system at their Folsom, California facility due to the high number of sun hours in California, the attractive rebates from the California Solar Initiative Program and the Federal Tax Credit. The state and federal incentives along with the reduction in the company’s monthly electric bill made the economics of the solar system very attractive.

The new solar electric system will begin operating in late September, 2010. A total of 576 lead-free solder 185-watt Mitsubishi Electric solar modules will be used in the installation. Mitsubishi Electric modules were chosen for their high energy output in real life conditions and their use of 100 percent lead-free solder.

The Kikkoman solar system will be installed as a fixed carport over the employee and visitor parking lot. It will serve the dual purpose of providing shade for cars while creating green energy for the company. The system is expected to produce 150,000 kilowatt-hours annually, saving money and reducing the amount of greenhouse gases that would otherwise be released into the environment from burning fossil fuels.

“Along with our parent company in Japan, Kikkoman Foods Inc. is committed to reducing its impact on the environment. Providing power to our facility with solar electricity is a great way to contribute to this goal,” said Kazuo Shimizu, president and chief operating officer of Kikkoman Foods, Inc.

“Japanese culture has a long history of valuing the environment and making sustainability a priority. As a Japanese company, we share similar values with Kikkoman Foods, Inc. and are proud to be a part of this project,” said Gina Heng, general manager of Mitsubishi Electric’s photovoltaic division.

In addition to its plans to install a solar system on its California facility, Kikkoman Foods Inc. has undertaken many other sustainability initiatives, including recycling and reusing almost all waste streams from the production process, energy conservation and energy efficiency improvements and improved water management. Since it began operation, Kikkoman Foods Inc.’s California plant has received nine Waste Reduction Awards Program (WRAP) awards from the State of California and five consecutive Sacramento Sustainable Business Awards for its environmental protection activities.

About Kikkoman Foods Inc.
For more than 300 years, Kikkoman Corporation has produced naturally brewed soy sauce. Kikkoman products are now sold in more than 100 countries around the globe. In 1973, Kikkoman Corporation of Japan formed Kikkoman Foods Inc., a U.S. based manufacturing subsidiary with headquarters and main plant in Walworth, Wis. Steady growth in demand for its products in North America enabled Kikkoman Foods to open its second U.S. manufacturing facility in Folsom, Calif., in 1998.

About Mitsubishi Electric & Electronics USA’s Photovoltaic Division
Mitsubishi Electric is one of the world’s largest manufacturers and providers of solar power technology. The company’s eco-friendly photovoltaic systems are used throughout the world to bring clean, reliable energy to residences, businesses, power generation plants, schools, factories and more.

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