It’s no secret that agriculture is a huge portion of California’s economy, and the nutrient-rich soil of our Central Valley produces a wide variety of crops. However, no plant-grown crop is bigger for our state than Almonds. One local producer, Golden Empire Shelling, recently made the decision to switch over to solar power in order to keep costs down by earning credits during the growing season and then reducing grid reliance during the four-month harvest.
Golden Empire processes nearly 70 million meat pounds of almonds every single year in their 45,000 square foot facility. During this harvest, the equipment and machines needed to bring in the crops run 24/7, placing a massive strain on their energy bills. However, John Wynn, the General Manager of Golden Empire, noticed that energy costs were rising by an average of 5% per year, placing a tremendous cost burden on his company. To add to the woes, almond crops were shrinking at the time as a result of the serious drought.
This prompted Wynn to make the decision to go solar. After looking into the prospect of going solar for some time, Wynn made the choice to install a SunPower® Helix™ system. The Helix system is a high-efficiency solar panels that produce more electricity than a conventional system. By choosing this system, Wynn was able to use less land than projected for the ground-mounted system, which is critical when the land is also used to grow revenue-generating crops.
The system installed is estimated to produce roughly 90% of the required electricity during the peak harvest season, dramatically reducing their reliance on the electricity grid and keeping this cost down, which in turn helps keep the costs of his products lower while turning a larger profit. During the growing season, when the harvesting machines and equipment are not running, the system easily produces far more than enough electricity than the company needs, resulting in credits on the company’s bill.
Wynn partially financed the installation project with a low-interest loan from Farm Credit West, but was also able to take advantage of tax credits and incentives designed to promote solar panel installation for agricultural businesses. Specifically, the company applied for a U.S. Department of Agriculture REAP grant, which can provide up to an additional half-million dollars in funding.
Wynn says even without the grant the project will likely pay for itself within five years.
Solar power is revolutionizing agricultural industries, and that same source of clean, renewable power is what SunPower® by Quality Home Services can use to help you reduce your utility bills and increase the value of your home, all while helping preserve a greener, cleaner future for our environment. We are a Fresno-based SunPower® Master Dealer, meaning we can provide you with the highest-quality products and exceptional service for the most powerful and energy-efficient solar panels on the planet. Each of our technicians and customer service representatives is dedicated to helping you find the solution that best fits your budget and your power needs, including helping you take advantage of tax credits, incentives, and more.