Florida Crystals Expands Renewable Energy Usage

Florida Crystals Expands Renewable Energy Usage

Jim McCool
Jim McCool
|
June 1, 2023

Florida Crystals is now utilizing renewable energy to power Florida's only remaining rice mill.  The effort is being driven purely by sunlight via 900 solar panels.

Before the investment into almost 1,000 new solar panels, Florida Crystals was already more than 80% powered by renewable energy.  Florida Crystals is now expanding its investment in and commitment to renewable energy by utilizing the sun in a new way. Its solar array and Tesla battery at its Sem Chi Rice Mill in Belle Glade are also moving the company closer to its goal to become carbon neutral.

"Our solar project is an amazing complement to how Florida Crystals is already powered,” said Andy Sauber, Sr. Director of Sustainability. “The majority of the power for our operations already comes from the sun because our main fuel source is our own sugarcane fiber, which grows by converting and storing energy from sunlight. This new investment at our rice mill is literally making us even more solar-powered than we already are, but instead of storing the energy in our plants, we are utilizing a Tesla Megapack battery."

The new system is expected to reduce carbon emissions by 250 tons annually.  While being environmentally friendly , the solar panels and battery will also provide a reliable power source to the South Florida rice mill, which supplies 90 million pounds of locally grown rice each year – enough to feed more than 4 million people annually.

Reliable power is critical to ensure continual operation of the silo fans that protect stored rice from moisture. The new system is especially important in South Florida, because the end of the rice harvest season, when are storage silos are at full capacity, coincides with peak hurricane season, when there is a much higher likelihood of power shortages.

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Jim McCool

Jim McCool

Jim is a graduate of Florida State University where he studied Political Science, Religion and Criminology. He has been a reporter for the Floridian since January of 2021 and will start law school in 2024.

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