Today the Houston Food Bank received a $100,000 donation from NRG Energy Inc. to support the installation of a solar array at the 308,000-square foot facility just east of downtown Houston. Before the end of summer, new solar panels atop its expansive warehouse and distribution center will convert energy from the sun into more meals for hungry children and adults.
The donation from NRG will complement a similar donation from Green Mountain Energy Sun Club to construct a single array that will double the benefit to the Food Bank. The combined array will consist of 280 photovoltaic panels which are expected to annually generate over 80,000 kilowatt-hours of clean, renewable electricity to offset a portion of the facility’s energy needs.
Brian Greene, Houston Food Bank president/CEO, said energy cost savings will enable the organization to provide thousands of additional meals to needy children and adults.
“We have a large warehouse and distribution center that uses a lot of electricity,” said Greene. “NRG’s generous donation will help reduce our operating costs so we can feed even more hungry Houstonians. It will also help reduce our environmental footprint and help us take the next step in sustainably serving our community.”
John Ragan, President of NRG’s Gulf Coast operations, serves as chairman of the Houston Food Bank’s board of directors. NRG has maintained a longstanding commitment to the food bank with financial donations and employee volunteers.
“The Houston Food Bank fills a vital need in our community,” said Ragan. “Leveraging our experience with rooftop solar to help them feed more people is one of the many ways NRG supports this community.”
In 2008, NRG provided $200,000 to support Houston Food Bank’s emergency operations in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. Additionally, NRG personnel maintain the Food Bank’s emergency generators that can ensure the refrigerators and freezers keep food safe during outages such as was experienced after Ike.
The Houston Food Bank is the largest food bank in the nation serving more than 74 million meals every year, according to a report from Feeding America, serving more than 800,000 hungry people each year.
— Solar Builder magazine