Constructive and creative. That’s how Niels Hovy, Sustainability Lead for PepsiCo Northwest Europe, describes the collaboration with SolarAccess.
During the last years the two companies cooperated in realizing three successful on-site solar projects for the PepsiCo food production facilities in the Netherlands: Quaker®, Lay’s® and Duyvis®.
Niels Hovy and Niels Groenewegen (project leader SolarAccess) tell us all about sustainability, collaboration and going left when you can’t go right.
627 MWh solar green energy yearly production
Rotterdam, Zaandam and Broek op Langedijk. Three factories where solar panels are beautifully shining in the sun. The first 450 solar panels were installed at the Quaker® breakfast cereal factory, on the edge of the river Maas. Niels Groenewegen: “At another beautiful location, this time by the river Zaan, we installed 270 solar panels on the roof of the Duyvis® factory. The structure of the last building in Broek op Langedijk proved unsuitable to support the weight of the panels. Fortunately, there was a nice piece of empty land available at the centre of the site and we were able to smoothly change our plans.” After applying for the necessary permits, SolarAccess was able to realize a ground-mounted system there. Niels Groenewegen: “It’s great to be able to supply all three factories with solar power. 627 MWh per year!”
PepsiCo: over fifteen years of focus on sustainability
At PepsiCo, the second largest food & beverage multinational in the world, sustainability has been on the agenda for at least 15 years. All over the world programs are designed to achieve ambitious goals. In Europe, PepsiCo has fully committed to the European Green Deal and the Paris Climate Agreement was signed. However, the organization is going one step further (http://www.pepsico.nl/nl-NL/live/pressrelease/persbericht-14-januari). PepsiCo wants to be CO2 neutral ten years earlier, by 2040. Niels Hovy: “CO2 emissions, raw materials, transport, packaging. We are becoming more and more sustainable in all areas. Use less energy and using green energy is one of the many components of our strategy.”
Visible example of sustainable entrepreneurship
Niels Hovy is working on a wide range of projects for PepsiCo. “Sustainability is often a very abstract concept. Large long-term agreements and thick files with agreements and promises. That is precisely why the three projects we realized with SolarAccess are so valuable. Solar panels alone will not change our world. But they are a real proof and a wonderful example of a valuable contribution to our sustainability goals. Every company that has empty rooftops or own land should use them. Invest in solar power!”
From the roof to the ground
Niels Hovy and PepsiCo sustainability team appreciate SolarAccess expertise within on-site solar systems. Niels Hovy: “SolarAccess advisory role during the project development and execution is very valuable. What’s the best way to set up and carry out such a project? Pragmatic and creative thinking, it was a strong, substantive collaboration. And if the rooftop is not suitable, let’s find another solution!” SolarAccess and PepsiCo have a shared goal and an enormous drive to complete the sustainable projects successfully. This drive and flexibility are especially evident when switching from roof to ground in Broek op Langedijk. Empty rooftops are perfect for solar panels. However, unused land on your premises offers an excellent alternative. Niels Groenewegen: “The main advantage is that you don’t have to lift everything onto the roof. A forklift puts pallets of materials down and you can start building. Maintenance is also easier on the ground. Of course, the soil has to be tested for strength, but all together the construction process is much shorter.”
Other European countries
After completing 3 successful projects, both PepsiCo and SolarAccess are investigating whether solar panels can be installed on factories in other European countries. Niels Groenewegen: “We are very happy with the cooperation with PepsiCo and would like to continue working with PepsiCo!” And that makes two happy companies. Niels Hovy: “If your organization considers installing solar panels, I can definitely recommend SolarAccess. You join forces with an experienced partner that thinks out of the box and takes work off your hands. Honest and open communication, a common goal and a huge drive to be successful together. For us at PepsiCo, it was exactly what we needed.”
Niels Hovy: “And about solar panels on your roof: go for it! There are plenty ‘what ifs’, but as far as I’m concerned they are not an excuse. If you have a flat roof or an empty plot of land, do something useful with it! Invest in solar energy and contribute to a more sustainable world.”