ONTARIO, CANADA: Canadian Solar Inc., one of the world's largest solar companies, announced the activation of a 540kW ground- mount photovoltaic (PV) solar electric system at Minturn Huller Cooperative Inc., a premier almond huller and sheller for more than 260 almond growers in Central Valley, Calif.
The new solar installation, featuring Canadian Solar's high-performance modules, began producing clean energy for the facility in December at a projected annual output of 788 MWh. Minturn Huller will experience cost savings of roughly 20 percent off its annual electric bill, or approximately $40,000 a year.
"Our facility runs an electric-intensive process that removes hulls and shells from nuts 24-hours a day, seven days a week from August to November. We are ecstatic to now be producing such a huge portion of our own energy at significant savings, while reducing our carbon footprint," said Jeff Hamilton, general manager with Minturn Huller Cooperative, Inc. "As the agricultural community continues to see costs rise year after year, utilizing clean solar energy will allow us to better manage our budgets over the long term without sacrificing process quality."
The Minturn Huller system consists of more than 2,700 CS6P-200PE e-Modules across two acres of land, currently harvesting 788,000 kW/h per year at peak capacity. The high-quality e-Modules are made of unique solar-grade silicon that requires 85 percent less energy to produce and generates 90 percent less waste than semiconductor silicon. With the e-Modules, the facility's system will curtail the release of 412,907 pounds of carbon dioxide each year and produce about 60 percent of the facility's main meter.
"The Minturn Huller facility's investment in solar energy sets an example of environmental stewardship in the Central Valley and agricultural industry as a whole," said Mike Miskovsky, U.S. general manager of Canadian Solar.
"Through its leadership and commitment to solar energy, the cooperative will reap significant financial savings on energy while greatly contributing to environmental sustainability, and Canadian Solar is proud that our power- efficient, high-quality modules can contribute to this endeavor. We are also impressed with Cenergy Power's professionalism and dedication to our on-time delivery and workmanship. We are excited about the potential to develop more large commercial projects with Cenergy."
Cenergy Power, one of the top solar developers specializing in the agricultural sector, designed, engineered and installed the solar project. It also provided Minturn Huller with the project financing structure that allowed the cooperative to experience immediate utility savings and, after seven years, the option to purchase the system.
"We are seeing more and more agricultural companies turning to solar energy solutions to help fuel their energy-intensive processes," said Bill Pham, CEO of Cenergy Power. "By partnering with Canadian Solar, we were able to help Minturn Huller realize its goal of deploying a cost-effective, high- value clean energy solution. This is the second +500kW project for Cenergy Power in the last calendar quarter, and we see significant near-term interest in Cenergy Power's value added solar financing and engineering solutions within the agricultural sector."
According to the California Solar Initiative, the Minturn Huller solar system is one of the largest distributed solar projects in Madera County to date. The environmental impact of the system is comparable to 1,574 newly planted trees and the carbon dioxide reduction of those trees over their lifetime.