Are these pistachio farmers crazy? We don’t think so. Primex Farms, a grower and processor of pistachios, as well as a nut and dried fruits trader, will be the envy of nut farmers everywhere when the 1.1 megawatt (MW) photovoltaic (PV) installation at its Wasco, California, facility is completed.
The company recently contracted with Cenergy Power to build the PV installation at its Wasco pistachio facility. According to Primex, it chose Cenergy to design and construct the massive system because of the company’s engineering and project structuring expertise.
Cenergy is designing the system to cover the Primex’s carports, its roofs and some ground space at the facility. When completed, the system should provide more than 1.7 million kilowatt hours of PV power annually, the company said. Cenergy added that the installation, when completed, will be the equivalent of “removing 1,283 metric tons of CO2 from the atmosphere or planting 274 acres of pine forest annually.”
Under the agreement reached by both companies, Cenergy will operate and maintain the PV system for 10 years after installation is complete. This will include panel cleanings, preventative maintenance, and repair and system warranties.
This isn’t Cenergy’s first endeavor into nutty PV, but likely its largest to date. For instance, in December 2009, it completed a 540 kilowatt PV installation at Minturn Huller Cooperative, Inc. in Central Valley, Calif. For that installation, Cenergy used Canadian Solar’s CS6P-200PE eModules. That facility will produce about 788 MW hours annually.
Canadian Solar said the installation should help Minturn Huller shed 20 percent of its annual electrical costs—equivalent to about $40,000 per year. The Minturn Huller facility has more than 2,700 modules installed on two acres of land.
Primex Farms has made other ventures into sustainability. It previously began recycling solid waste and water at the Wasco facility. Ali Amin, CEO of Primex Farms, said that “the decision to go solar was a natural next step in our continuous endeavor to incorporate environmentally 'green' concepts into our business."