Mother Earth Foods Saving Energy in Parkersburg WV
Mother Earth Foods is the only natural foods store located in Parkersburg, West Virginia. The business has been located in the same location for over forty years. The store contains a significant number of energy-consuming devices within the two-story building including 224 lights, seven large upright freezers, and freezer compressors.
In fiscal year 2014, in order to reduce energy expenses and increase profitability, the owner operator, Dave Hawkins applied for a USDA Rural Energy for America (REAP) Renewable Energy System grant to install solar panels on the roof of the store building. The project entailed installing 77 total panels at a cost of $79,719. The project was designed to provide 17% of the total electricity used by the store. The installation of the solar panels was completed in March 2015. Since completed, the 77 solar panels have generated 19,217 kWh of electricity during the first ten months of operation.
Given the success of the REAP grant for the installation of solar panels, in fiscal year 2015 Mother Earth Foods submitted a second REAP application. The follow-up application focused on upgrading the energy devices that consumed the most energy at the store, including lights and freezer compressors. The energy efficiency upgrades were implemented in the spring of 2015 and are expected to save 84,021 kWhs of annual usage.
For both grants, Midwest Clean Energy Enterprises provided technical information and Community Bank and Trust of Parkersburg assisted with financing the projects.