Process and Operations / Sustainability

Mars Lights Up ‘Largest’ Solar Array

Mars Inc’s Hackettstown, N.J., factory, which primarily produces M&Ms, in early November switched on a dedicated solar array that is the largest in the nation to serve a single manufacturing complex, according to Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) Inc. It gives new meaning to the term green M&Ms.

The 18-acre field of 28,680 solar panels adjacent to the plant can generate 2.2 megawatts per hour of energy, about 20 percent of the plant's power needs, or enough power for roughly 1,800 homes.

PSEG owns the array, having spent more than $10 million on its construction. The company gets a $650 solar credit for each megawatt hour of energy the system produces, and Mars reportedly is paying below market rates for the electricity it produces.

The array is the 11th-largest solar generation facility in the U.S., according to the Washington, D.C.-based Solar Electric Power Assn. and quoted by Associated Press. AP also reported New Jersey is second only to California in solar power generation, with 100 megawatts of capacity installed. The state has a goal for 20 percent of all energy to be generated from renewable sources, such as solar and wind, by 2020.

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