Tue | Jan 31, 2023

Six GK operations, HQ now powered by solar systems

Published:Sunday | December 4, 2022 | 12:09 AM

GraceKennedy will power about half of the new Hi-Lo Negril supermarket and the Grace Agro-Processors Plant, GAP, in Denbigh, Clarendon, from photovoltaic systems, bringing to seven the number of facilities within the group to go solar. Additionally...

GraceKennedy will power about half of the new Hi-Lo Negril supermarket and the Grace Agro-Processors Plant, GAP, in Denbigh, Clarendon, from photovoltaic systems, bringing to seven the number of facilities within the group to go solar.

Additionally, subsidiary GFP Meats is otherwise pursuing an energy project to add liquefied natural gas to its energy mix.

The conglomerate’s move into renewable energy systems began around 2019 and is projected to bring savings of US$1 million annually by 2026.

Since the start of the year, GK says it has invested over US$3 million on energy-efficiency projects that form part of its environmental, social, and governance agenda.

Both the Negril and Clarendon locations have installed solar power grid-tied systems, with a combined generating capacity of 925 kWh per day, and projected to meet 50 to 60 percent of energy needs at the locations.

“GAP started operations in 2019 and since then we have seen a gradual increase in our electricity usage. We determined that the grid-tie system would be the most suitable for our needs as approximately 68 per cent of the plant’s power usage occurs in the day,” Senior General Manager of Manufacturing at Grace Foods, and lead implementor of GK’s new energy policy, Carl Barnett, said in a press release from the company.

The solar installation at GAP in Clarendon was brought online on November 1, with an expected paypack period of less than four years.

GraceKennedy Group has previously commissioned solar power generation plants at subsidiaries Dairy Industries Jamaica Limited and Nalcan (formerly Grace Food Processors Canning) in Kingston; GK’s distribution centre in St Catherine; GFP Meats in Westmoreland; and, more recently, the new GK Group headquarters in downtown Kingston.

The system currently provides 30 per cent of the building’s daily energy needs, GK said.

Efforts by the Financial Gleaner to get a comment on upcoming solar energy projects were not successful up to press time. But General Manager of Hi-Lo Food Stores, Cathrine Kennedy, says that the GK Group has made a strategic decision to incorporate solar energy into every new Hi-Lo store construction going forward.

karena.bennett@gleanerjm.com