Going solar: contributing to the world’s green energy transition

The Wonderful Company aims to hit their target 100% renewable energy by 2025

Global organizations like The Wonderful Company are leading the charge toward clean and renewable energy on our warming planet. Generating and operating our own solar electricity enables Wonderful to directly contribute to the green energy transition and be accountable for our own electricity usage, instead of depending on other industries.

While renewable energy projects have been in the works for decades, in 2019, The Wonderful Company first announced its commitment to source 100% renewable electricity for all its U.S. operations by 2025. In doing so, Wonderful became the first American agricultural company to join RE100, a global coalition of like-minded businesses in pursuit of this ambitious goal. Wonderful is set to achieve 100% renewable electricity in the U.S. by 2025.

How Wonderful is powering its own operations with renewable electricity

To date, Wonderful has invested over $100M in 73 Megawatts of solar capacity to power our pistachio, almond, pomegranate, and citrus growing and processing operations. This capacity covers 270 acres and 14 sites, which include some of the largest solar facilities in California’s Central Valley, and would provide enough power for 13,000 US homes each year. Thanks in large part to our 25-Megawatt facility in Lost Hills, our onsite solar facilities meet close to half of our electricity demand in the U.S.

Through 2030, Wonderful plans to add up to 82 Megawatts of solar through 34 new projects across the Central Valley with the goal of meeting our entire electricity demand in California, where the majority of our operations are located. While our existing solar energy primarily targets centralized processing operations, most future projects target smaller, decentralized farming operations. In addition to building our own sustainable solar energy farms, we plan to meet our RE100 goal through also claiming the renewable electricity generated from existing facilities by purchasing renewable energy credits (RECs) from non-Wonderful renewable energy projects in North America.

A major area of focus to reach 100% of our goal has been the replacement of grid electricity with cleaner power. The electricity grid in California largely depends on dirty fossil energy like methane gas. Burning fossil fuels contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, not to mention endangering neighboring communities with toxic pollutants. What’s worse, many fossil fuel power plants are in disadvantaged communities, disproportionately affecting those with the resulting poor air quality. Bringing new clean energy online circumvents these potentially harmful outcomes. Across our existing and planned solar capacity, we will reduce carbon emissions equivalent to 6,900 passenger vehicles every year.

Beyond sustainability and community impact, Wonderful’s solar projects create significant economic and operational value for our businesses. Our solar farms are significantly less costly than the current California grid, cutting our energy costs while simultaneously improving the reliability of our power supply.

Wonderful also supports utility-scale solar in California

Wonderful facilitates renewable electricity development beyond what is required for our own operations. For example, our farming entity Wonderful Orchards owns thousands of acres of fallow land that is available for solar development. That makes this acreage optimal for solar development for not only its flat geographical composition, but also its proximity to the electrical grid. So, we are partnering closely with solar developers to permit and build large-scale solar and battery storage projects across over 15,000 acres in the CentralValley, facilitating valuable renewable additionality from land that was otherwise sitting idle.

Together, these projects, when developed, are expected to generate 2,000+ Megawatts of solar capacity and battery storage over the next decade, resulting in some of the largest solar projects in the United States. That’s equivalent to over ten times the required solar capacity at Wonderful to achieve our RE100 goal. As a result, these land leases enable us to contribute to renewable additionality and subsequent emissions reduction far beyond the scale of our own operations. 

Projects like these underscore our commitment to realizing our dreams of powering our operations globally with 100% renewable electricity and to be a positive contributor to California’s grid. We’re thrilled to fulfill our promise and achieve our renewable energy goals in the U.S. Stay tuned as we announce more solar projects in the years to come.

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