Warsaw, VA

Food bank in Warsaw, VA begins switch to solar power

Watchful Eye

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Healthy Harvest Food Bank's new rooftop solar arrayWatchful Eye

Healthy Harvest Food Bank started its transition to solar power by adding 90 solar panels to the roof of its Warsaw, Virginia facility.

That rooftop array covers about one-third of the site’s power, according to Chris Page, president of Commonwealth Power, the Richmond-based company that designed the system.

For phase two of the project, Commonwealth Power will install 160 panels on the ground, allowing the food bank to complete the conversion. That work is expected to begin after Labor Day and should be finished within a couple months.

In total, Healthy Harvest Food Bank will have a 108 kW solar system, and it’ll produce about $13,000 in savings, which can be invested in expanding the organization’s programs, said president and CEO.Mark Kleinschmidt.

Once completed, Healthy Harvest Food Bank’s solar system will be the equivalent of having 2,300 fully grown trees, said Page.

Furthermore, within the next couple of years, Healthy Harvest Food Bank plans to build an aquaponics center called Healthy Harvest Fresh that will be used to offer on-site educational classes for students and grow fresh produce year-round. Kleinschmidt said the food bank’s goal is add more solar panels to reduce the operating costs of that operation.

Kleinschmidt explained that the move toward solar stemmed from management’s desire to make an impact in a different way. Not only does the conversion help the environment but the Healthy Harvest Food Bank hopes it catches the attention of other organizations and brings clean energy to the forefront for nonprofits in the Northern Neck and Upper Middle Peninsula.

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