Life Data Labs Goes 100% Solar with 282kW

Published April 15, 2017

Life Data Labs, Inc. is an equine and canine nutrition research and manufacturing company located in Cherokee, Alabama. Since 1973 Life Data Labs has been committed to making high quality animal feed and nutritional supplements that improve animal health. Founder Dr. Frank Gravlee decided to make his own products after seeing too many sick horses as a veterinarian, trusting his belief that poor diet was to blame. Life Data Labs’ Farrier’s Formula® was the first hoof supplement on the market and has been the #1 recommended hoof supplement by farriers for 12 consecutive years.

Life Data Labs is ISO 9001 certified which means they meet high, international standards for quality in manufacturing. In addition, the company recently invested in a more efficient motor system, air compressors, and LED lighting.

Dr. and Mrs. Gravlee and Life Data Labs team pose with the solar array at their solar ribbon cutting ceremony.

Last year when Life Data Labs decided they wanted their company to be 100% solar-powered, they hired Birmingham, AL-based Sain Engineering Associates, Inc. (SEA) to help them make it happen. SEA designed a 282kW system to cover over 100% of the facility’s electrical use. SEA, acting as the general contractor, put the project out to bid, and LightWave Solar was selected to install the solar array.  On March 10, 2017, Life Data Labs became a net zero facility which means the building generates as much energy as it consumes on an annual basis.  By investing in a large system that covers all of their use, Life Data Labs has locked in a much lower electric rate for the next 25 years, insulating the company from future electric rate increases.

“I am professionally passionate about two things: equine nutrition and innovation that works,” says Dr.  Gravlee. “This solar power plant is the next innovative step to improve the efficiency of our manufacturing process,” he says.

The 282kW system participates in Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) Dispersed Power Production program (DPP). Under this program, the solar electricity is utilized first by Life Data Labs.  If Life Data Labs happens to produce more power than it is consuming, then they can sell the excess power to TVA at TVA’s avoided cost. Life Data Labs retains all environmental attributes, also known as renewable energy credits.  Conversely, in TVA’s Green Power Providers program for systems under 50kW, TVA buys all of the solar electricity at the retail rate (GSA-1 rate) and keeps the environmental attributes in return.

Watch the project video!