Solar System Expected to Save Pleasant Valley Pistachios over $100,000 in First Year


CalCom Solar begins installation of a 570 kW solar system for Pleasant Valley Pistachios in California. The system is projected to save the farm more than $100,000 in the first year alone, with savings over the system lifetime estimated at over $4.7 million.


Pleasant Valley Pistachios in California is joining the many other agribusinesses that are going solar to save money. Especially in areas with abundant sun, energy-intensive farming benefits greatly from solar savings. And farmers have a tradition of conservation, plus a vested interest in protecting their land and environment. Sustainability is a way of life on most farms.


For its solar installation, Pleasant Valley Pistachios turned to CalCom Solar, a company that says it has been building momentum in the agricultural market. CalCom Solar is installing a 570 kW solar system to power an irrigation pump for the farm.


“CalCom Solar was a great fit for us,” says Brad Gleason of West Hills Farm Services, which operates Pleasant Valley Pistachios. “We are continually looking for ways for our clients to get more efficient, especially in the area of energy. We already participate in PG&E’s energy mitigation program and have seen great results from that. Adding solar to the mix was a natural next step.”


CalCom Solar offers an estimation tool that it says can give agribusinesses an accurate idea of how much they’ll save.


“With SAGE – our proprietary Solar AG Energy (SAGE) software,” notes Nic Stover, Vice President of Development for CalCom Solar, “we were able to precisely analyze how solar would impact Pleasant Valley’s participation in energy mitigation programs. In the first year alone, Brad and his operations will save more than $100,000 on electric expenses.”


While many homeowners and businesses are able to go solar these days with leases, farmers often prefer to purchase their systems. They tend to be accustomed to making the upfront investment in equipment. CalCom Solar was able to help Pleasant Valley Pistachios purchase their system through some clever financing. CalCom worked with Pleasant Valley’s bank to get them a line of credit for the construction of the system. Upon completion of the system, the line of credit will convert to a term loan. This meant that the farm did not have to tie up any capital for construction, but can still take advantage of the Investment Tax Credit and depreciation.


The financing package also ensures that the project will be cash-flow-positive starting in the first year of the system’s operation and continue to provide positive net returns for the next 25 years. Savings over the lifetime of the solar power system are projected to be significant, exceeding $4.7 million.


In keeping with the farming tradition of conservation, the system will also offset 686 metric tons of CO2 annually. This is equivalent to 646,000 pounds of coal or 67,000 gallons of gas that will not be consumed.