Organic Valley launches community solar partnership

Wisconsin State Farmer

LA FARGE, WI - Organic Valley, America's largest cooperative of organic farmers and a leading organic brand, announced a first-of-its-kind community partnership that
will enable Organic Valley to become the largest food company in the world to source 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.

Organic Valley

In doing so, Organic Valley is embarking on an aggressive path to become carbon neutral.

"Our future demands bold new thinking about our sources of energy, and
there is nothing more natural to a farmer than harnessing the power of
the sun and the wind," said George Siemon, CEO and a founding farmer
of Organic Valley in a news release. "So our cooperative is committed to achieving 100
percent renewable power, and doing it in partnership with the rural communities where we live and work."

Global leadership, word-class partners, and regional impact Organic Valley is collaborating with the Upper Midwest Municipal Energy Group (UMMEG) and OneEnergy Renewables to create the new community solar partnership. Together, the partners will initiate over 12 megawatts (MW) of solar installations in Wisconsin.

The electricity created by this partnership will not only enable Organic Valley to cover 100 percent of its electric energy needs from renewable sources by 2019, but also increase overall solar energy use in Wisconsin by 15 percent.

Beyond the 12 MW project portfolio, an additional 17-plus MW expected to be constructed as well, resulting in nearly 30 MW of new solar in the region.

Critical to this partnership, Organic Valley will purchase renewable energy credits from the solar projects near their headquarters and distribution center enabling the cooperative to be fully renewable-powered. As a result of the partnership, all participating communities will receive lower and more stable electric costs and the environmental benefits of renewable power.

Additionally, the community solar partnership will adopt pollinator-friendly solar standards as part of Organic Valley's commitment to animals, people and the planet. Rather than being planted with turf grass or covered in gravel, the installations will
incorporate pollinator-friendly habitat into the design.

Once complete, these meadows, filled with native flowering plants and grasses, will create as much bee and butterfly habitat as if 30,000 families were to each plant six-by-twelve-foot pollinator gardens.