Konditor Meister Launches First Commercial Solar Array in Braintree
The project has 235 panels and will generate enough power to cover half of the bakery's energy use for the year.
Running a bakery requires many kilowatts of electricity to keep cakes, pastries and other desserts cool around-the-clock.
Konditor Meister, on Wood Road in Braintree, plans to save on those costs – to the tune of about $13,000 annually – by taking advantage of a particularly friendly renewable energy environment in Massachusetts.
The bakery has installed Braintree's first commercial rooftop solar array, consisting of 235 panels that will offset 50 percent of its energy usage, and will also finish construction of solar panel-topped carports by next month.
"The economic environment [for solar] has never been better," said Invaleon CEO Tom Wu, whose alternative energy company is working with Konditor Meister.
Massachusetts provides a 30 percent tax credit for such projects, Wu said, with that incentive scheduled to expire in 2016. In addition, the state has a program in which systems like Konditor Meister's produce Solar Renewable Energy Credits that can be sold at high value to energy suppliers.
That program also has a limited capacity, and is about halfway filled, Wu said.
“Konditor Meister has been at the Wood Road location for over 16 years and has experienced an increase in its electricity demands due to the refrigeration and mixers,” owner Gunther Moesinger said in a statement. “With the support of federal, state and local government, the investment in solar energy is very cost effective."
Moesinger said he expects to make back his initial investment in two to three years, much faster than the typical seven to eight that commercial projects of Konditor Meister's size take.
When the carports are finished, the solar array will produce 98 Kw with a total of 340 solar panels, equalling more than 115,000 kilowatt-hours annually.
That second phase also offers shade for Konditor Meister customer’s cars and will eliminate more than 110,000 pounds of annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which is the equivalent of taking approximately 21 cars permanently off Braintree’s roads, according to a press release.
“We tell customers to leave their car A/C on during hot days so that their cakes do not melt once they get inside their cars,” Moesinger said, “By not having to run their A/C while they’re parked, customers will be able to offset over 1,500 gallons of gasoline each year.”
Wu and Moesinger have worked closely with the Town of Braintree and the Braintree Electric Light Department on the project. BELD recently began a renewable energy initiative itself and "is excited to see Konditor Meister making such a significant investment in renewable energy," GM Bill Bottiggi said.
"Here at Braintree Electric we have been increasing our renewable and zero greenhouse gas emitting portfolios substantially over the last few years," Bottiggi added. "Currently we participate in Hydro, Wind, Solar, Landfill Gas, and Nuclear projects. Combined the projects total to over 23 percent of our power supply needs.”
Konditor Meister is hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the project on Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 10 a.m. at 32 Wood Rd.