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The Challenge

  • Offset the high electrical cost of operating a 80,000 square foot warehouse facility along with the addi- tional costs associated with running huge freezer rooms and a new industrial-sized composter
  • Achieving Gold LEED certification


The Food Bank’s significant energy costs have a direct correlation to the number of meals the Food Bank can provide to those in need; reducing energy costs means more meals for individuals and families across San Diego County. Switching to solar was a critical component of an ambitious capital improvement project designed to help the Food Bank reach its Gold LEED objective. Founded by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED is the stringent eco and sustainability standard by which building design and construction are measured in the U.S.

the jacobs cushman san diego food bank commercial solar solutionsThe Solution

Baker Electric Solar experts worked closely with Food Bank senior management and its facilities director to develop a clear understanding of its day-to-day operational, financial and LEED objectives. The result was the design of a state- of-the-art 1400 panel Hyundai® solar system covering over 80,000 square feet of roof.

San Diego-area philanthropists, Joan and Irwin Jacobs, donated $1M toward the cost of the Food Bank’s solar system. In addition, the Food Bank will also receive $90,000 annually from the Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE) over the course of five years, a total of $450,000. This due to the organization’s ability to meet its energy use reduction targets.


The Results


The Food Bank’s Baker Electric Solar system is yielding annual energy cost savings of $120,000. This savings enables 600,000 more meals per year for San Diegans in need. In addition, a significant step was made toward the achievement of the Food Bank’s goal of LEED certification.

Today, the Food Bank’s commitment to live with renewable energy, recycle, conserve water and other green initiatives is tracked via a monitor in the building’s lobby. There, visitors, employees and view in real-time the metrics that clearly show the volunteers can view in real-time the metrics that clearly show the positive impact the Food Bank is making on its immediate and surrounding environment every day.

“As a part of our recent capital improvement project, our 350 kW solar system provides a major contribution toward our goal of becoming LEED certified." Casey Castillo, VP of The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank


 About The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank

The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank distributes food directly to families and individuals at 183 distribution sites throughout San Diego County every month. In addition, the organization provides food to 350 nonprofits that operate independent feeding programs. These nonprofits include soup kitchens, shelters, religious organizations, schools, senior and disabled living facilities and food pantries. Together with Baker Electric Solar, the Food Bank is now saving enough in energy costs to significantly expand and improve on its mission to help those in need.

System Specs

Location: San Diego, CA
System Size: 350 kWs
Number of Panels: 1,400
Date Commissioned: January 2015
Annual Energy Cost Savings: $120,000