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California Growers, Processors, Tapping Sun

winery.jpgA small but growing number of California growers and processors are tapping the sun to help power their operations, San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Bernadette De Chiaro, a clean energy advocate with Environment California, told SFC that she has seen a growing number of agricultural companies install solar panels over the last five years. The trend has been particularly visible among wineries and packing plants that have high refrigeration and air conditioning costs.

Wineries such as Constellation Wines, Frog’s Leap, Foster’s Wine Estates, Jarvis, and Robert Keenan, have installed solar systems in a move to be more green.

Barry Cinnamon, CEO of Akeena Solar, which installs solar energy systems, told SFC that about 50 to 100 wineries are using solar energy.

Companies that install solar panels can qualify for rebates, federal tax credits on the purchase and installation costs, they can also get credits from utilities for any unused solar power they send to the power grid.

Mariani Packing Company recently completed a 1.1 megawatt solar power system at its Vacaville, Calif., headquarters.

Last year, Paramount Farms, a supplier of pistachios and almonds, opened a 1.1 mega-watt, $7.5 million solar plant in California’s San Joaquin Valley.

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