When Joseph Fragoso contacted JP Electric and Solar, he needed to solve a problem that’s typical for our agricultural solar customers. His Mid Summer Farms in Hanford, Calif., had enough land for a photovoltaic (PV) solar system —190 acres – but most of that land was spoken for. He needed as much as possible for growing corn, winter wheat and other crops.
Fragoso tried several other solar companies before coming to JP Electric and Solar. Each suggested a fixed solar installation spread out over several acres. But the experts at JP Electric and Solar realized they needed to provide something more innovative. And their answer earned them SunPower’s 2017 Intelegant Award for best commercial solar installation.
“When we came out and looked at (Fragoso’s) needs and what some of the competitors were doing we offered him a solution that would help him produce more power with a smaller footprint using a tracker system,” said Eric Wilson, commercial solar manager for JP Electric and Solar.
With a solar tracker system, the solar panels move gradually throughout the day, following the sun’s path, rather than being fixed facing just one direction. Because the panels always face the sun, they generate more power.
Precis Solar System Conserves Valuable Acres for Growing
The versatile SunPower® Helix™ system, which can be installed on rooftops, carports or as a tracker, was the obvious choice, Wilson said. With every part designed to work seamlessly together to generate the most possible power, the 208.8 kilowatt system at Mid Summer Farms would meet the farm’s electricity needs using just 1.26 acres of land — 40 percent less land than with a conventional solar system.
“By offering the tracker ground-mount system we were able to generate almost twice the amount of kilowatt hours than the other competitor’s proposal, which meant that the farmer could maintain a larger amount of his crop land for growing,” Wilson said.
Plus, the Helix system is so simple to assemble that installation costs were lower.
Wilson said JP won the Intelegant award in part because everything just came together beautifully on this project.
“Everything lines up really well,” Wilson said. “It’s just a really good-looking array.”
The economics of the Mid Summer Farms system look good, too. It’s saving Fragoso about $43,000 annually in energy costs.
Fragoso isn’t alone in turning to solar to reduce his electricity costs. Businesses from mushroom growers to wineries and fruit and nut producers are saving millions annually with SunPower’s high efficiency solar solutions. (Click here to watch a video about one project at the Rivermaid Trading Company.)
His only regret?
“I wish we’d have started doing this when we first got into farming because it would have been saving money back then,” Fragoso said.
This post originally appeared on the SunPower Business Feed.