Paramount Farms Opens Largest U.S. Single-Site Agricultural Solar Energy Plant in California
Supported by the 2007 California Solar Initiative, the $7.5 Million, Eight-Acre Solar Energy Plant Will Alleviate Demand on Central Valley’s Municipal Power Grid During Summer Months
LOST HILLS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Paramount Farms, the world's largest vertically integrated supplier of pistachios and almonds, today announced the opening of the Paramount Farms' Solar Plant, a 1.1 mega-watt, $7.5 million solar energy plant in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Spanning eight acres, it is the largest single-site, privately-owned, operating solar plant in the U.S. and is expected to supply about 15 percent of the energy that the company’s nut processing facility uses each year.
“Today we’re pleased to break ground on the first phase of a long-term, comprehensive, solar-power initiative.”
Solar Plant Is a Significant Agricultural “Green” Initiative
The solar plant represents a significant initiative undertaken by the Central Valley’s farming community to lessen the burden on local municipal power suppliers by generating environmentally-friendly, sustainable alternatives. According to the state’s Department of Food & Agriculture, California is the nation’s No. 1 agricultural producer and exporter with $32 billion in direct farm sales in 2005. Of California’s Top 10 agricultural communities, seven are located in the Central Valley, representing a combined agricultural value of more than $20 billion.
“Paramount Farms, a leader in the farming community, is committed to a balanced green strategy, one that utilizes clean energy to reduce costs and improve efficiency,” said Dave Szeflin, vice president, operations, Paramount Farms. “Today we’re pleased to break ground on the first phase of a long-term, comprehensive, solar-power initiative.”
The alternative power generated by the plant will ease the burden on local power supplier Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) and the California power grid while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption. Energy generated by the plant contributes to the municipal power grid, supplementing the city’s power supply. The Central Valley is the state’s fastest growing region and home to about 6.5 million people. According to PG&E, the base demand for electricity in California continues to grow four percent each year. A hot summer could put a further demand on the state’s electrical supply.
The plant was built and installed by SolarCraft, a leading solar energy company. According to Chris Bunas, vice president, the 1.1 mega-watt plant is expected to generate enough clean electricity each day to power about 300 average homes, sparing nearly 2,600 tons of harmful greenhouse gases annually.
About Paramount Farms
Paramount Farms is the world's largest vertically integrated supplier of pistachios and almonds with more than 70,000 acres of prime pistachio and almond orchards located in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Paramount Farms’ 30,000 acres of pistachio orchards are the largest in the Western Hemisphere; and in a state famous for its almonds, Paramount Farms is California’s largest almond grower, with more than 40,000 acres of permanent almond orchards. Paramount Farms' nuts can be found in the produce department of grocery stores nationwide sold to consumers under the Sunkist® and Everybody’s Nuts™ brand names as well as under private label and in bulk.
For more than 22 years, SolarCraft has been providing Solar Thermal and Solar Electric services including consulting, design, sales, installation and maintenance. SolarCraft has installed more than 4,000 solar energy systems in California that account for more than a million square feet of solar energy collectors, saving customers $6.5 million and eliminating more than 24,000 tons of greenhouse gasses every year.