PuppyChow, now with more solar goodness

Thanks to a new 427-kilowatt photovoltaic array at Nestle Purina PetCare’s manufacturing facility in Flagstaff, Ariz., puppies and kitties in the U.S. will get a little more sun in their diet. The array, the largest commercial rooftop system in the region, was dedicated last week by U.S. Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ).

"This Nestle Purina solar project is good for the environment, good for the community, and good for business," Rep. Gosar said at the event, where he cut the ribbon with the help of Primo, a Papillon from Phoenix that just won the agility competition at the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge. "It's an excellent example of collaboration between private industry and federal and state entities, with long-term benefits for all stakeholders. It's encouraging to see major companies like Nestle Purina working hard to produce their products in an increasingly environmentally responsible manner."

During the dedication, Purina PetCare also donated a total of $5,000 to Coconino Humane Association and Second Chance Center for Animals, both animal shelters.

The company’s use of renewable energy at the site, however, extends beyond just solar, said Purina spokesperson Bill Salzman.

“Solar, in addition to other renewable resources, produce over 20 percent of the plant’s electricity,” he said.

The company also purchases wind and geothermal power through the Arizona Public Service (APS) Green Choice program, he said.

It’s the second solar installation for the company.

Purina Petcare’s first solar installation was at its manufacturing facility in Denver.

However, the Flagstaff installation is much larger than the installation in Denver, according to Salzman.

“Based on the success there, and the learnings there, we were able to do the array [in Flagstaff],” he said.

The company also is adding in more solar in future buildings.

“In addition we have a new building going online in next year [in Missouri], and that building will also have a solar array, a small one, but that’s all it can take,” Salzman said.

The installations are part of Purina’s and Swiss-based parent company, Nestle S.A.’s commitment to sustainability, according to Salzman.

“It’s part of our overall commitment to use sustainable energy wherever possible,” he said.

The company also is reworking to reduce water use and send as little as possible to landfills, according to Salzman. Such sustainability initiatives help the company reduce waste and save it money.

“Some of our sustainability initiatives do result in cost savings which is good for business and the environment,” he said.

The company also is raising awareness about recycling pet food cans. While roughly 50 percent of people recycle their beverage containers, only around 15 percent recycle pet food containers, Salzman said.

Image courtesy of Purina.