Sunworks, Inc. (NASDAQ: SUNW), a leading provider of solar power solutions for agriculture, commercial, industrial (ACI), and residential markets, announced today a new project for a 1.9 megawatt (MW) solar system that will be constructed at Meirinho Dairy in Merced, California. The system will allow the dairy farm to offset an estimated 90% of their annual electrical needs. Meirinho Dairy is a prominent, family owned farm that provides a diverse range of operations including dairy, dairy feed, and almond farming.
Family owned dairy operations in California provide 20.5% of all milk consumed in the United States (over 41,000 pounds). Reducing overhead is a key component to seamless production and stable profitability for dairy operations and energy needs for fueling the equipment used in dairies are unpredictable and prone to rapid increase. As a result of their continuing effort toward sustainable farming, Meirinho Dairy identifies solar power as a natural way to augment their operations, reduce energy costs, and promote environmental initiatives.
Both Sunworks and Meirinho Dairy have established a comprehensive, long term commitment towards sustainable agriculture. Sunworks will incorporate its RapidRack system to install the 1.9 MW, fixed ground mount solar array consisting of 5,670 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. The system will enable Meirinho Dairy to efficiently increase solar collection while reducing the need to occupy crucial farming space. The Rapid Rack system will accommodate 3 PV panels per column and decrease the coverage area required from 8 to 5.64 acres. The result is a savings of over 2 acres of viable farm land for use in other areas of Meirinho Dairy’s core business. Along the entire area of the Rapid Rack system, Sunworks will deploy weed barrier and gravel for added equipment protection. Additionally, a full fence with live video camera system will be integrated for added security.
Sunworks will install a total of 21 “Sunworks Powered by Solectria” 60TL inverters, which are co-branded, highly reliable, 3-phase string units designed to reduce labor costs and maximize energy harvesting. The move will allow the dairy farm to scale its solar infrastructure in preparation for additional Sunworks equipment to be added later this year. Sunworks will work with Meirinho Dairy’s local utility company to upgrade any necessary transformers.
Using Net Energy Metering Aggregation (NEMA), a total of 16 utility meters will be assimilated, allowing Meirinho Dairy to connect meters across the facility’s infrastructure and back to a single meter. The project will be supported by Sunworks’ industry leading, 25-year warranty as well as include 1 year of operation, maintenance, and monitoring. Construction is expected to be completed by end of 2017.
Sunworks Chief Executive Officer, Chuck Cargile, said, “We’re proud to partner with Meirinho Dairy to assist in building their sustainable farming operation, improving their efficiency and financial results for years to come. More broadly, California dairy is a significant industry that can uniquely benefit from solar power solutions. Sunworks is well positioned to assist our customers in this critical industry.”