LAKE WALES, Fla. – The bright Florida sunshine that goes into every glass of Florida’s Natural Brand Orange Juice is now helping power the Florida’s Natural Growers Visitor Center on Highway 27 North in Lake Wales. The Florida’s Natural Grower’s Cooperative just installed solar panels on the 5,000 square foot facility as part of their continuing effort to promote and utilize renewable energy sources.
The solar panels are estimated to supply 30 percent of the power needed to operate the Visitor’s Center and are being used as a test case by the Cooperative to explore more sources of renewable energy.
“Florida’s Natural Growers is committed to producing the finest All Florida juice to our consumers using the least energy possible,” said Walt Lincer, VP of Sales and Marketing. “Solar energy is clean, renewable and sustainable. We use it to grow our oranges so it just makes sense to use it to power our Visitor’s Center.”
The installation of solar panels at the Visitor’s Center is just the latest example of the Florida’s Natural Growers’ ongoing, Cooperative wide commitment to reduce the consumption of electricity, natural gas and water. From 2000-2007 natural gas consumption is down approximately 25% and electrical consumption is down about 9%. Water usage is down over 90% since the early 1980’s with the implementation of recirculation programs and the installation of cooling towers. The Cooperatives’ co-generators, installed within the last decade, enable Florida’s Natural Growers to generate 75% of their off season load and all of their internal steam needs. The system burns clean natural gas to generate both electricity and steam. The single gas burn provides two power supply benefits.
To help educate the public about renewable energy, the Visitors Center will feature an interactive display demonstrating how the solar panels power the facility.
About Florida’s Natural Growers
First formed in 1933, the growers’ cooperative was named Florida Citrus Canners Cooperative, as its main function was canning grapefruit sections and juice for its grower members. After the development of frozen concentrated juices in the 1940’s, the Cooperative invested in the necessary infrastructure and became one of the largest juice processors in the state. In 1969, the Canners Cooperative eventually changed its name to Citrus World, Inc. to better reflect its diverse product line. Today, the majority of the Cooperative’s sales are derived from the Florida’s Natural ® Brand, now the second largest selling premium NOT From Concentrate brand in the United States. The cooperative now uses Florida’s Natural Growers as its name. Florida’s Natural Growers is comprised of twelve grower organizations representing nearly 1,100 individual growers who own over 50,000 acres of citrus in Florida. Florida’s Natural Growers operates its processing plant in Lake Wales, Florida, with a juice packaging plant in Umatilla, Florida. The Lake Wales facility employs 850 employees and can extract over nine million pounds of fruit every twenty-four hours in peak season. For more information, visit FloridasNatural.com.