ROCKY MOUNT — QVC Rocky Mount Distribution Center doesn't just talk the talk about energy conservation and going green – it walks the walk and practices what it preaches.
The mogul distribution retailer celebrated on Wednesday the completion of its second solar farm that consist of 11,564 panels on 11 acres. The first farm, 5,680 solar panels on seven acres, was completed in November 2008.
The solar farms are situated on opposing sides of QVC's driveway. Combined the two farms have 17,244 panels on 18 acres. They will generate 5.8 million kilowatt hours annually.
Those figures adds up to lots conservation and savings.
"Annually our services use about 17 million kilowatts hours to keep everything running," said Bill Stanulis, QVC general manager. "With the 5.8 million kilowatt hours generated by the two solar farms, we are able to offset about a third of the annual energy cost with green power. Our current solar energy production capacity places QVC among the top 10 cooperate energy producers per American retailers according to the 2013 report.
"Put it in prospective the 5.8 million kilowatt hours generate a carbon monoxide emission of 458,766 gallons of gasoline. It is also the equivalent of reducing carbon monoxide emission from the electricity from 563 homes and the green house emission from 853 passengers vehicle used over a course of a year.
This is really an important step in our continuing effort to reserving resources."
The new panels place QVC among the top corporate businesses in the state in conservation measures.
In another "green power" method, QVC is using sheep instead of gas powered mowers to mow the lawn. So far, 10 sheep are responsible for the 17 acres. A spokeswoman for QVC said the company anticipates additional sheep will be purchased.
State, federal and local politicians, as well as a large portion of the company's more than 1,000 employees, attended the brief ceremony.
State Rep. Joe Tolson thank QVC corporate and local officials for the impact they had on the economy in Edgecombe County and for its vision to build the solar farms.
"You hear the impact that it can have on our environment, our atmosphere," he said. "That's what good about QVC. They are doing what can make Edgecombe County a better place to live."
Other green power initiatives include a recycling program that salvages four million pounds of corrugate and 100,000 pounds of plastic recycling per year. Also a community garden was created for employees to grow fresh vegetables.
“As the world’s leading video and ecommerce retailer, QVC’s goal is to reduce, reuse and recycle at all facilities,” Stanulis said “As one of the largest employers in Edgecombe County, we are committed to conserving energy by implementing sustainable solutions and reducing waste.”