Bay Area organic farm grows its own power

This post was originally published in 2014. The tips and techniques explained may be outdated.

The fertile lands south of the famed Silicon Valley are home to thousands of acres of farmland. One such farm, famed for its organic practices, uses the sun for much more than growing crops; it’s the energy source for the farm’s electrical needs.

The five-array system, as seen from above, bordering the farm’s crops.

The five-array system, as seen from above, bordering the farm’s crops.

Five ground-mount Shletter arrays holding 212 SolarWorld 270-watt monocrystalline modules produce 43 kW of power and an estimated 85,000 kWh of energy annually for Pinnacle Organic Farm. Turning all that sun-grown power into usable AC are one Sunny Tripower 12000TL-US and two Sunny Tripower 15000TL-US inverters. The system was designed and installed by Blueline Power of Northern California.

Room to grow

With more than 250 acres of land, Pinnacle Organic Farm has space for solar and up to 60 different crops of fresh produce at one time. All crops are certified organic by California Certified Organic Farmers and the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements and range in both cool season crops like lettuce and cabbage and hot season crops such as sweet corn, bell peppers and garlic.

Agriculture has blossomed as a hot-spot for solar in recent years because landowners appreciate the fixed costs and long-term savings of energy produced by renewable sources. In addition to these benefits, the Pinnacle farm will also save more than 22 tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere each year. To further reduce its carbon emissions, the majority of the farm’s fuel-powered machinery now runs exclusively on bio-diesel.

This isn’t the Pinnacle farm’s first investment in solar power; its success with a 53 kW barn-mounted system helped motivate the owners to further their reliance on renewable energy with more solar. Now totaling 96 kW, the Pinnacle Organic Farm hopes to be just as clean as the food it grows.

2 Comments
  1. Gaëtan Beauchamp
    Gaëtan Beauchamp says:

    As we move into this new energy world we will see more and more communities reform the agricultural and energetic way of producing locally. This will create a definite rise in the renewable energy industries.

    Reply

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