Going green

By on January 15, 2012

Solar power system now operational at Midwest Groundcovers
St. Charles—Midwest Groundcovers’ 99-acre nursery in St. Charles now utilizes 37.5 kilowatts (kW) of solar energy.

Realgy LLC, an alternative energy service supplier in Illinois, owns the solar photovoltaic (PV) system now installed at Midwest’s headquarters. As part of Realgy’s commitment to generating local renewable energy, Realgy funded the project and hand-picked Midwest Groundcovers as a test-site for the installation.

“We are excited to announce the completion of the Midwest Groundcovers solar project,” says Michael Vrtis, president of Realgy. “Realgy made this investment as a trial and looks forward to Illinois promoting renewable energy so we can continue to install and provide the benefits of renewable energy to businesses in Illinois.”

Renewable Energy Alternatives of Northbrook, Ill., installed the solar PV system on the roof of Midwest’s maintenance building.

“Midwest Groundcovers’ facility is a beautiful nursery and agricultural center. We are excited to contribute to the use of solar energy for Midwest to generate electricity,” said Renewable Energy President Bernie Schmidt of the installation.”

The Midwest Groundcovers solar PV system will produce over 48,430 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy annually and more than one million kWh over the next 25 years. This is enough energy to power approximately 13 average U.S. homes each year. The environmental benefits associated with the system will offset nearly 900,000 pounds of carbon dioxide over the initial 25 years of operation.

Gary Knosher, president of Midwest Groundcovers, is enthusiastic about the project.

“All of our products use solar energy since we are a plant nursery,” Knosher said. “Adding the ability to generate clean solar energy to satisfy some of our annual electricity requirements is really exciting and builds on our sustainable commitment. This is why our vice president, Stan Schumacher, initially pursued the project for us.”

“At Midwest, we have always considered ourselves responsible stewards of the environment, and the solar panel initiative naturally aligns with our company’s sustainable practices,” said Schumacher.

Midwest Groundcovers hosted an official Turn-On Ceremony for the solar PV system on Monday. Numerous green industry leaders and community representatives attended.

Renewable Energy Alternatives installs products manufactured to conserve, save and produce clean energy. For more information about this organization, please contact Andrew Patellaro at (847) 291-7693 or visit Renewable Energy on the web at www.renewableenergyalt.com.

Realgy LLC is an alternative energy service supplier providing natural gas and electricity to commercial and residential consumers in Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. Visit their website at www.realgyenergyservices.com or contact Michael Vrtis at (860) 233-2270.

Midwest Groundcovers LLC is an industry leader in the propagation, growth and wholesale distribution of quality container nursery stock. The company operates over 300 acres of state-of-the-art nursery production facilities at five locations in St. Charles, Virgil, and Glenn, Mich.

Visit Midwest Groundcovers LLC on the web at www.midwestgroundcovers.com. For more information about this project or to obtain photographs of the event, please contact Jill Bondi at (847) 742-1790.