Harmony Natural Foods Coop
|Business Name:||Harmony Natural Foods Coop|
|Address:||302 Irvine Ave. NW Bemidji, MN 56601|
|Size:||Fifteen panel, grid-tied, 3.75kW photovoltaic system|
|Installer:||The Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL)|
|Date of Install:||Fall 2014|
Who we are
Harmony Co-op’s mission is to serve the common health of our community. We are committed to the application of cooperative principles, community education and providing whole, healthy foods and other goods which support a sustainable environment. Harmony is Bemidji’s largest retailer of natural, local and organic products and the first business in the area to employ solar energy. Further, the cooperative business model is designed to be sustainable. Cooperatives are owner-driven business enterprises in which decisions balance the pursuit of profit with the needs and interests of owners and their local communities as well as the global community at
Why we went solar
In January 2014, Harmony created a Sustainability Committee. The committee is charged by the General Manager to provide oversight and strategic guidance in Harmony’s commitment to sustainability as stated in Harmony’s 2nd ends statement “Harmony strives to promote and restore healthful, sustainable, environmental practices.” We made the decision to pursue solar energy based on our need for a passive awning on the south wall of our building (to limit the amount of sunshine that touched our fresh produce, reducing shelf life) and our desire to model and educate our community on the benefits of investing in sustainable practices.
Benefits of going solar
The mission of Harmony’s Sustainability Committee is to provide strategic planning, recommendation, education outreach and measurable oversight of Harmony’s sustainable business practices in regards to the products we carry, energy & water use, waste reduction, and business engagement with the local economy. Since it’s installation in 2014, Harmony’s solar awning has produced 16.2 (16,200 kWh) of solar energy. In 2017 alone, we saw 4,603 kWh of solar energy produced; a saving of $413 in energy costs and a 3.4 metric ton greenhouse gas reduction. Following our awning’s installation in 2014, Harmony Co-op received a Clean Energy Research Teams (CERTs) grant to implement an energy audit. We have since diligently audited our energy and waste production.