Commissioning ceremony celebrates the union of American-made solar, agriculture
HILLSBORO, Ore., Feb. 20, 2013 – Strain Ranches, a diversified agricultural operation in Arbuckle, Calif., has commissioned one of the nation's largest farm-based solar installations to power its commercial rice drying and storage business. The 902-kilowatt array features solar panels from SolarWorld, the largest U.S. solar manufacturer for more than 35 years, and Enphase microinverters. Strain Ranches unveiled its solar system this week, highlighting the natural synergy between domestic agricultural and solar production, two iconic American industries.
Cultivating 12,000 acres of California farm land for the production of nuts, rice and alfalfa, Strain Ranches is an intensive user of electricity. Its ground-mounted solar installation comprises about 3,760 SolarWorld solar panels and covers nearly 3 acres adjacent to the company's rice-drying facility. The system will offset approximately one quarter of Strain Ranches' companywide energy consumption and virtually eliminate the utility costs associated with the rice dryer.
"We invested in solar because it provides a reliable return on investment and makes sound financial sense, and choosing American-made solar technology strengthens that sense of reliability," said Dane Nissen, warehouse manager for Strain Ranches. "From the solar panels to the steel racking, our made-in-the-U.S.A. solar array is built to perform and to last."
The array was designed and installed by SolarWorld Authorized Installer North State Solar Energy, a solar-electric contractor that specializes in agricultural solar projects in California's fertile north central valley, and Renewable Design Solutions, a photovoltaic design and consulting firm. The project, which incorporates the Enpase microinverter system from Enphase Energy of Petaluma, Calif., is one of the largest ground-mounted projects in the world to use microinverter technology.
Yesterday, Strain Ranches owners joined local elected officials and representatives of SolarWorld and Enphase Energy in celebrating the system's completion with a dedication event at the company's Arbuckle property.
"Across the country, the agriculture industry is embracing the promise of solar, a move that is at once practical and visionary," said Kevin Kilkelly, president of SolarWorld Americas. "Solar technology is ideally suited to help American farmers and ranchers stay competitive by lowering their energy costs while promoting their role as stewards of our country's natural heritage."
SolarWorld manufactures solar power systems and in doing so contributes to a cleaner energy supply worldwide. The company, located in Bonn, employs about 2,600 people and carries out production in Freiberg, Germany, and Hillsboro, Oregon, USA. From raw material silicon to the solar module, SolarWorld manages all stages of production ‒ including its own research and development. Through an international distribution network, SolarWorld supplies customers all over the world with solar modules and complete systems. The company maintains high social standards at all locations across the globe and has committed itself to resource- and energy-efficient production. SolarWorld has been publically traded on the stock market since 1999 and is quoted in the technology index TecDax. SolarWorld achieved sales of about 1 billion Euros for the fiscal year 2011. More information at www.SolarWorld.com.
About North State Solar Energy
North State Solar Energy is a Northern California based general contractor that specializes in solar-electric installations for residences, businesses and agricultural facilities. Owned and operated by Michael Houar, who has been a licensed contractor for over 25 years, the North State Solar Energy team has been involved with the design and installation of over 200 solar projects. With a business model focused on delivering quality and value over the long term, North State Solar Energy offers American-made SolarWorld solar panels and made-in-the-U.S.A.-compliant inverters with high performance and unmatched warranties. North State Solar Energy also has a commitment to providing an unparalleled level of customer service for its clients.
About Enphase Energy, Inc.
Enphase Energy delivers microinverter technology for the solar industry that increases energy production, simplifies design and installation, improves system uptime and reliability, reduces fire safety risk and provides a platform for intelligent energy management. Our semiconductor-based microinverter system converts energy at the individual solar module level and brings a systems-based, high technology approach to solar energy generation. Connect with Enphase on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. www.enphase.com