By GREGORY ZELLER //
Long Island’s food-and-beverage king has completed an ambitious solar installation promising royal benefits – for itself, and for the regional power grid.
Along with its partners at New York City-based EnterSolar, major league distributor J. Kings Food Service is celebrating its new 771-kilowatt rooftop solar installation, permanently affixed atop the 44-year-old titan’s Holstville headquarters. The distributor and the circa-2005 energy company were set to commemorate the solar system’s completion with a special ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday.
Expected to join representatives of J. Kings and EnterSolar at the sunny ceremony are PSEG Long Island executives and a host of elected officials, including Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Town of Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter, all on hand to salute an effort that will not only reduce the food-and-beverage company’s carbon footprint but “create significant financial benefits,” according to the Holstville-based distributor.
In addition to “offsetting a significant portion” of the power J. Kings draws from the regional energy grid, the 771-kilowatt system is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 1.26 million pounds annually – about the same as saving 64,000 gallons of gasoline, according to J. Kings.
That’s right in the community-commitment wheelhouse for a longtime Long Island company that boasts deep ties to the Suffolk County Police Athletic League, the Island Harvest hunger-relief organization and the breast cancer-battling Maurer Foundation, among other regional hospitals and programs.
“J. Kings has been serving the Long Island community since 1974 and continues to look for new ways to innovate as a business and to be responsible neighbors,” noted Chief Customer Officer John King. “Going solar was simply a natural extension of that commitment.”
The cost of the installation project was not disclosed, though J. Kings did note the effort was partially funded through Albany’s $1 billion NY-Sun initiative.
Launched by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2014 and managed by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, NY-Sun is designed to make solar energy more accessible to Empire State homes, businesses and communities through a slate of financial incentives, educational programs and training efforts coordinated with local governments and private industry.
EnterSolar also had a hand in project financing – specifically, “financing structures” – while handing all of the engineering and installation duties. The new photovoltaic system will be maintained by MaxSolar, the NYC firm’s operations and maintenance division.
Trumpeting an effort that will “provide significant reductions in operations expenses while harnessing the power of the sun to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” NYSERDA President and CEO Alicia Barton applauded J. Kings and EnterSolar for successfully leveraging Albany’s billion-dollar clean-generation initiative, which is “providing businesses and residents throughout New York with access to the significant benefits of solar.”
And for an operation as substantial as J. Kings, which supplies dozens of national and niche brands to markets and restaurants throughout the Greater New York region, the benefits of solar generation should prove significant indeed. Noting a “massive amount of power” required by the 125,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution center and its many “large-scale refrigerators and freezers,” EnterSolar Director Steven Engelmann said it was “gratifying to be able to help them reduce their dependence on the grid.”
“Projects like this one alleviate grid stress and help New York State achieve [its] renewable-energy goals while providing local businesses the chance to reduce operating costs,” Engelmann noted. “This large-scale commercial project was driven not only by a positive bottom line, but by their corporate social responsibility and family values.
“J. Kings has been a great client to work with.”
That sense of accomplishment is shared by PSEG Long Island, according to Michael Voltz, the utility’s director of energy efficiency and renewables.
“PSEG Long Island is proud to work with companies that emphasize the value of reducing carbon emissions and helping our environment,” Voltz said in a statement. “With this new PV system, J. Kings will save energy, lower their operating costs and contribute to a greener, cleaner future on Long Island.”