UNFI (United Natural Foods, Inc.) partnered with Meridian Solar to build a 665 kW roof-top solar electric system on its 590,000 square foot distribution center in Lancaster, Texas. Using energy harnessed from the sun, UNFI can now store and deliver its more than 65,000 products while adhering to their corporate responsibility commitment. Meridian Solar, the leading Texas-based EPC, was responsible for the design, engineering, procurement, and implementation of the system.

“Meridian demonstrated a clear understanding of the market, the permitting and approval process, and return calculations necessary to undertake a project of this scale. They’ve been a pleasure to work with and a great partner for us on this solar project,” says Tom Dziki, Chief Human Resources and Sustainability Officer at UNFI.

UNFI is no stranger to investments in sustainability. Through their green building, fleet efficiency, water conservation, and solar energy initiatives, UNFI demonstrates that large companies can make a difference. UNFI’s new solar investment in Lancaster, which is the fifth solar energy system that UNFI has procured, will generate an additional 1,021,035 kWh of clean energy annually, bringing UNFI’s total renewable energy production to over 5 million kWh per year.

In addition to reducing their electrical usage from the grid, UNFI will also be accumulating environmental savings with each kilowatt-hour generated. For example, during the first year of operations, UNFI’s Lancaster plant is projected to generate 1,021,035 kWh. This clean energy is the equivalent replacement of 704 tons of CO₂, the annual greenhouse gas emissions from 148 passenger vehicles, or annual energy use of 64 homes. The 665 kW solar electric system also produces enough electricity per year to match the carbon sequestered by 577 acres of US forests in one year.

“UNFI is an ideal partner for Meridian Solar. It is inspiring to understand all of the efforts put forth by UNFI to be a socially responsible corporation and leaders in sustainability,” says Andrew McCalla, Meridian Solar’s President and Founder. “We look forward to furthering our partnership with UNFI to expand their renewable portfolio and help them meet their sustainability goals.”

About United Natural Foods: United Natural Foods, Inc. (http://www.unfi.com) connects farms to families by carrying and distributing more than 80,000 organic, natural and specialty products to over 40,000 customer locations throughout the United States and Canada. The Company serves a wide variety of retail formats including conventional supermarket chains, natural product superstores, independent retail operators and the food service channel. United Natural Foods, Inc. was ranked by Fortune in 2012 as one of its “Most Admired American Companies”, and chosen by Food Logistics Magazine as one of its 2012 Top 20 Green Providers. For more information on United Natural Foods, Inc., visit the Company’s website at www.unfi.com

About Meridian Solar: Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Meridian Solar specializes in the development, engineering, construction, and financing of high-quality solar electric generation projects. Since 1999, Meridian Solar has designed and built more than 600 installations with an installed capacity of over 40 MW across 15 states. For more information, visit www.meridiansolar.com