SACRAMENTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Monarch Tractor, maker of the industry’s smartest, fully electric autonomous tractor, and its Farm Electrification Consortium partners have received a $3 million grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to accelerate electrification of agricultural equipment and demonstrate the ability of batteries in on-farm equipment to keep critical electrical loads running during power outages that are initiated with greater frequency due to wildfires. The consortium is comprised of Monarch Tractor, Gridtractor, Rhombus Energy Solutions, Current Ways, and Polaris Energy Services.
"With grid shutdowns, hardworking farmers lose significant time, resources and money in a business where America’s growers already struggle to see the profits of their hard labor," says Praveen Penmetsa, CEO and co-founder of Monarch Tractor. "Our tractor's ability to provide exportable power and act as a mobile generator will help keep the lights on for California’s farms even when the grid is down."
In addition to emergency scenarios, the consortium will develop and demonstrate technology to enable farmers to employ tractors to respond to conditions on the power grid by charging and discharging batteries to supply irrigation pumps and other on-farm loads in response to dynamic prices and demand response events. The consortium will develop hardware, software and communications technologies to link tractors and charging equipment to fleet operation centers and grid management systems.
"Farm equipment electrification can not only provide dramatic savings for growers but enable them to take control of their energy," says David Meyers, CEO of Gridtractor. "For the grid, agriculture is one sector in California with the electrical infrastructure already in place to support rapid EV adoption. With the backing of the CEC, this project will support building, deploying and testing the technologies required to take advantage of that opportunity."
“It makes all the sense in the world to make sure that these big investments we’re making on the transportation side also do double duty as grid reliability. And the amount of torque you need for a tractor, it’s perfect for batteries,” said Commissioner Andrew McAllister in the CEC August Business Meeting.
"We look forward to trying the Monarch MK-V in the field and seeing how it works with the Rhombus charging gear and Gridtractor system. Cleaner, cheaper power for our equipment is a win-win for both our customers and California's agricultural industry, which produces at least one-third of the country's vegetables and two-thirds of the country's fruits and nuts,” said Don Cameron, vice president and general manager of Terranova Ranch.
"All of Talley Vineyards’ electrical loads are run off the electrical grid, which means that a power shutoff event can have a catastrophic impact on vineyard operations,” said Dave Terry, vineyard manager of Talley Vineyards. “For this reason, Talley Vineyards is eager to deploy technologies that increase reliability of power supply because of the devastating impact that loss of power can have on an entire season’s crop. It is a priority for us to be at the forefront of agricultural technology that contributes to sustainability and the viability of California’s farming sector. We look forward to participating in this project."
Monarch Tractor’s award-winning MK-V tractor is transforming agriculture by combining electrification, automation, machine learning, and data analysis to enhance farmer’s existing operations, increase labor productivity and safety, and maximize yields to cut overhead costs and emissions.
For more information on Monarch Tractor, visit www.monarchtractor.com.
About Monarch Tractor
Monarch Tractor is the maker of the world’s first 100% electric, driver-optional, intelligent tractor. It offers an industry-first trifecta of electrification, automation and data analysis that results in maximum value from a farmer’s perspective, helping to cut their carbon footprint, improve field safety, streamline farming operations, and increase their bottom lines. Labor shortages, climate change, and food safety concerns create a multitude of challenges for farmers. Monarch’s robust data-driven tools allow farmers to better predict and adapt to the challenges ahead, increasing food security and farm profitability for this, and future, generations. For more information, visit www.monarchtractor.com and follow on LinkedIn and Instagram.
Based in California, Gridtractor is developing fleet electrification services for farms utilizing electric tractors and heavy equipment. Gridtractor was incubated by Polaris Energy Services, and is building a platform to optimize farm vehicle charging using existing on-farm electrical services and generation. For more information, visit http://www.gridtractor.com and follow on Twitter and LinkedIn.
About Rhombus Energy Solutions
Rhombus develops and manufactures next-generation bi-directional electric vehicle charging infrastructure, high-efficiency power conversion systems and energy management system (EMS) software for vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capable electric vehicle fleet charging, energy storage and microgrid applications. The high reliability of our solutions is the result of decades of experience developing high-power systems for a variety of applications and deployment scenarios, including UL-1741-SA system-to-grid solutions. For more information, please visit www.RhombusEnergy.com.
About Current Ways
Current Ways, Inc. is a global technology leader in delivering electric charging and power conversion solutions. Founded in 1991, with a vision to build a greener and more energy efficient world, Current Ways takes advantage of the 31+ years of legacy knowledge from LHV Power in developing many high performance, high quality on-board and off-board charging products which are used in electric automobiles, trucks, specialty off-road vehicles, aircraft, speed boats, energy storage applications and more. As a customer-centric company, Current Ways has always worked towards maximizing the value and providing competitive solutions. With future focus towards high power density products, Current Ways is currently developing a new platform called CWUBIC, which is a silicon-carbide based bidirectional isolated converter that can be used for various applications like on-board charging (OBC), traction inverters, combination OBC and low-voltage DC/DC, micro-grid, VFD motor control, DC Fast Charging, and many more. For more information, please contact Dennis Isaac, dennis.Isaac@currentways.com and visit us at currentways.com.
About Polaris Energy Services
Polaris is the leader in connecting agricultural customers with energy markets, automating irrigation control to take advantage of energy savings and revenue opportunities. The company manages a network of 500+ irrigation and water conveyance pumps representing 75 MW of peak load that can be shifted when the grid is stressed, and is at the forefront of California’s efforts to increase demand flexibility. For more information, visit https://www.polarisenergyservices.com.
Terranova Ranch is dedicated to producing over 25 premium quality conventional and organic crops as effectively, productively and sustainably as possible on over 6,000 acres in the central San Joaquin Valley of California. Terranova farming methods ensure the health and quality of soils for generations to come. Best management practices are employed in all areas to improve the planet, the farmland and provide a healthy way of life for employees. The ability to reach these goals is due to the company’s financial strength and experienced management, staff and ownership working together to achieve a sustainable environment. For more information, visit https://www.terranovaranch.com.
About Talley Farms
The Talley family farming tradition began in 1948 when Oliver Talley planted vegetables in the Arroyo Grande Valley on California’s Central Coast. His commitment to quality produce and strong relationships continues to guide our business, four generations later. Today, Talley Farms is a diversified family-owned farming company that grows, packs, and ships a variety of vegetables, lemons and avocados. In addition, Talley Vineyards is regarded as one of California’s best producers of estate grown Chardonnay and Pinot Noir visit https://talleyfarms.com/ and https://talleyvineyards.com/.