Frito-Lay Modesto Powers Facility With Help From The Sun

Modesto, CA: PepsiCo's Frito-Lay North America Modesto, CA, manufacturing facility is building on its environmental sustainability efforts by installing an innovative cylindrical solar photovoltaic (PV) system on its rooftop. The one megawatt system is the largest Solyndra installation in the United States.

"Frito-Lay is utilizing innovative technologies and renewable energy such as solar power to help minimize our impact on the environment," says Thomas Melead, technical manager, Frito-Lay Modesto. "The Solyndra PV system allows us to maximize one of California's greatest natural assets – the sun – to take some of the plant off of the electrical grid."

The project consists of approximately 5,600 panels, covering 247,000 square feet, and was completed in 8 weeks. The system has an installed capacity of one megawatt, which at peak production will reduce the plant's electricity use from outside sources by 25 percent. It also reduces CO2 emissions by 1,000 metric tons per year.

"Frito-Lay is a tremendous example of a corporation showing its commitment to sustainability by taking advantage of unused roof space to implement a powerful renewable energy system," says Brian Harrison, CEO, Solyndra. "They now have a large clean, quiet, emission-free power plant on their roof, making the sun a great additional ingredient in their products."

In addition to Solyndra Inc., the system was installed with the support of Panelized Structures, a Solyndra Certified Solutions Provider and Pacific Solar Energy.

"Frito-Lay wanted to install solar on their rooftop and the Solyndra system was the best match for their requirements," says Keith Coonce, President, Panelized Structures Inc. (Panelized Solar). "The fast and easy installation of Solyndra panels ensured minimal business disruptions and allowed us to meet a very aggressive installation deadline."

The rooftop PV system is the second solar project at the Modesto facility. In 2008, the Modesto facility unveiled a five-acre solar concentrator field made up of 54,000 square feet of concave mirrors. The solar energy captured by the 384 solar collectors is used to generate steam that helps heat the cooking oil used in the SunChips manufacturing process. Since 2000, the facility's resource conservation program has reduced its use of electricity by 19 percent, natural gas consumption by 30 percent and water by 44 percent per pound of produced product.

In July, the Modesto plant achieved LEED Existing Buildings Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). LEED is the nation's preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.