Plug Power Inc., a leading clean energy provider, today announced that WinCo Foods LLC will use 184 of Plug Power’s GenDrive(R) fuel cell units to power its electric lift truck fleet at its grocery distribution center in Modesto, Calif.

Andy Marsh, CEO at Plug Power, said the geographic location of the deal is important considering broader economic factors. The transaction marks Plug Power’s first large grocery installation in California, and adds to the company’s growing customer list.

“California is an important state for Plug Power to aggressively prove the commercial viability of GenDrive because of the high energy costs currently absorbed by our customers,” Marsh stated in the press release. “We can help our customers save millions of dollars over the life of these products by converting their lift truck fleet power solutions to GenDrive fuel cells.”

For Plug Power, the GenDrive units being developed for WinCo’s European-style moving mast lift trucks provides Plug Power with a foothold in the European material handling industry leveraged by a reliable product.

Per the agreement, WinCo will pay for the systems through a five-year lease with Somerset Capital Group. The company will use the GenDrive fuel cell units to move its produce, dry and freezer goods at their facility; the technology is expected to enhance productivity because of the constant power GenDrive can deliver during an entire shift.

For WinCo, the transition from lead-acid batteries will not only increase productivity, but is expected to significantly reduce its grid-supplied energy use, thereby saving money as well.

“WinCo Foods appreciates the opportunity to utilize the GenDrive fuel cells which will reduce our labor costs while powering our equipment in a more environmentally conscious way,” Michael Read, WinCo Foods spokesman stated. “We very much appreciate the teamwork displayed by Plug Power and Somerset to meet our needs and to make this conversion as efficient as possible.”

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