FRESNO, Calif. – Cargill announced plans to install a new solar energy system at its Fresno, Calif., beef processing plant. The system will pre-heat water used throughout the plant for food safety and sanitation purposes, according to the company. Installation is expected to be completed by the end of March.The Fresno plant has a production capacity of approximately 400 million lbs. of beef products annually and employs 950 workers.

“The addition of solar energy to preheat boiler water complements our methane gas recovery and use, which reduces our dependence on natural gas by almost 30 percent and helps us move our Fresno beef processing facility closer to being truly sustainable through our incorporation of additional renewable energy sources,” said John Niemann, Cargill’s vice president and general manager of the Fresno plant. “We are continuously exploring options and taking actions that reinforce our focus on environmental stewardship and resource conservation, while serving our customers and the consuming public, and being a good corporate neighbor.”

Cargill partnered with TEVA Energy, LLC following after researching the financial and operational viability of installing the system. TEVA and its financier, Skyline Innovations, Inc., are installing the system, eliminating any capital investment Cargill would need to make.

“We’re installing cutting edge MaxG G1 and G2 polymer-glazed collectors that provide the most efficient means of collecting solar energy currently in the marketplace,” said Remo Eyal, TEVA Energy CEO. “To finance the project, TEVA and Skyline aggregate incentives with the income stream from the solar energy sold to Cargill at rates below their natural gas rates.”