PZSE recently provided third party engineering for the PV ground mount installation on this Walnut Orchard solar conversion project.
November 28, 2016
West Sacramento, CA – River Oak Orchards, a proud producer of California’s walnut supply, can say it produces more than just nuts after the successful installation of its solar project. The orchard now produces 280 kW’s of solar energy, offsetting its PG&E costs by 75.8% and saving over $63,000 each year.
River Oak Orchard contracted JKB Energy for the installation of over 880 panels atop a fixed ground mount system. As one of the leading renewable integrators in the state, JKB Energy is helping the agribusiness across California make the transition to solar energy as they reach nearly 100 MW’s of installed capacity to-date.
“Agriculture is as one of the fastest industries to adopt solar in California,” states Chad Cummings, Director of Sales and Marketing for JKB Energy. “We have seen over 200 agricultural businesses make the switch to solar to offset energy costs.”
Like many other farms and orchards, River Oak joins this transition as an opportune way to reduce and control energy expenses. According to JKB Energy, PG&E rates have increased by 4-8% every year on average.
“By going solar, farmers not only benefit from reduced energy costs, but they are no longer impacted by inflation from energy bills,” Cummings explains. Removing this variable cost from a business’ overall operational costs really add up, especially for larger projects.
To further increase savings and maximize power production, River Oak utilized Mounting Systems’ Sigma Steel ground mounts to support this 280 kW project. The Sigma Steel system was designed in a shared rail configuration, an innovative technique that decreased the amount of rail material by 25%, simplifying logistics and making for a more cost-effective solution.
“Mounting System’s ground mounts were quick and easy to install, which helped keep our installers on schedule,” says Amanda Johnson, Manager of Client Relations for JKB Energy. “With a notable reduction in labor time, our installation rate was faster than expected.”
As with many projects, space constraints served as one of the biggest challenges for JKB Energy’s installers as they collaborated on how to strategically situate the ground mounts without uprooting too many trees or hitting nearby water lines.
However, these issues were resolved with Sigma Steel’s flexibility and customization, which accommodated these common obstacles. “With Sigma Steel’s design flexibility, we were able to install all modules with an additional 24-module array to maximize our customer’s power production,” Johnson states.
With more design flexibility, modules, power supply, and energy offset, River Oak Walnut Orchard can now reap the benefits of solar power throughout the year and hopefully lead the way for others within the agricultural community.