Off-grid solar canopy charges electric tractor at California winery

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Paired Power, a provider of solar-powered EV charging products, and Monarch Tractor, a fully electric tractor manufacturer announced the two have partnered to deliver an emissions-free tractor solution for Kaerskov Vineyard in Santa Ynez Valley, California. 

Since July, the vineyard has been operating Monarch’s MK-V electric tractor, charged fully with Paired Power’s solar canopy and EV charger. The solar charging solution can be installed as a rooftop or raised as a canopy. 

The winery’s solar canopy is a 38.5 kW array comprised of 72 panels, 535 W each. The panels are made by JA Solar. 

The U.S.-made DC fast chargers charge directly from solar during daylight hours. The chargers can provide up to 100 A service. A full charge from 0% to 100% for the Monarch tractor typically takes five to six hours at 80 A. Paired Power said the racking and mounts for the canopy are U.S.-made, as well. 

The tractor was delivered with two swappable batteries. One can be used for operation while the other stores the solar generation from the day. 

Farmers may move increasingly toward electrification of vehicles as cost advantages shift from fossil fuels to the renewables sector. A Monarch tractor can also offset 54 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year when compared to a conventional tractor, the company reports. 

Monarch said the tractor comes with advanced collision prevention, human detection, and power take-off protection while reducing over 60% of the farm’s expense on tractor fueling and service. 

“Our mission at Monarch is to elevate overall operations, improve farmer profitability, and pave the way for sustainable farming,” said Praveen Penmetsa, co-founder and chief executive officer of Monarch Tractor. “Pairing the all-electric MK-V with renewable charging infrastructure like Paired Power’s solar solutions brings us closer to a farming future that is powered by clean energy solutions. We are pleased to partner with Paired Power and Carr Winery in taking this step toward more environmentally friendly farming practices.” 

Agriculture is responsible for about 20% of global emissions, according to McKinsey and Company. However, many farms are located in remote locations at the end of distribution lines, which can lead to an unstable power supply for charging electric machinery. As such, on-site and off-grid solutions like Paired Power’s may represent a pathway for farmers seeking to improve the emissions profile of their operations. 

“Our high-powered solar charger was designed with fleet applications in mind, as we know that providing a convenient means to charge electric tractors will be essential in the adoption of electrified farming. Our charging solutions are scalable to ensure that we can continue to provide easy renewable charging as electric fleets expand,” said Tom McCalmont, co-founder and chief executive officer of Paired Power. 

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