Looking to Improve Its Bottom Line, Fruit and Nut Grower, Packager and Distributor, Batth Farms Turns to the Sun and Solar Power
Established in 1959 by Charanjit Batth on 180 acres in California’s fertile San Joaquin Valley, Batth Farms has grown to some 13,000 acres and is known for its high quality almonds and varietals of grapes. Today, Mr. Batth’s two sons, Gagan and Kanwar, help run the family business and hope to continue the Batth family tradition.
Like most farms in central California, energy used for irrigation and pumping water makes up a significant portion of operating costs. In the fall of 2011, the Batth family decided to introduce a new crop—solar energy to reduce their reliance on grid electricity. SolarCity worked with the brothers to identify the best locations for the ground mounted systems and initially chose 5 pumps that are used to irrigate grapes and almonds. After the first 5 systems were installed, another 3 pumps were chosen bringing the total project size to 1.5 MW.
Batth Farms was already on a Time of Use (TOU) rate and avoided running pumps during the day when electricity was most expensive. Now with their own solar systems generating “peak” power, Batth Farms can take advantage of net metering to earn valuable credits that significantly reduce their overall energy bill.
Despite Challenging Weather and Terrain, SolarCity Completed the Project in 7 Weeks
In order to maximize the savings and tax rebates for the project, SolarCity’s engineering and project management team “fast tracked” the project and completed the installation before the end of the year. The crew and construction team was careful to work around crops and in some cases placed the posts in between rows of vineyard. The Batth family was able to take advantage of the tax grant and the accelerated depreciation schedule which speeds up the payback period. At the end of the day, Batth Farms will be saving $1.25 million* for each pump or close to $9 million* over the projected thirty-year life of the system.