California dairy installs largest privately-owned solar array
Joseph Gallo Farms recently came up with a plan to soak in some of those California rays. The maker of Joseph Farms Cheese, recently unveiled a new 2 megawatt (MW) solar array, the largest privately owned system ever installed on a California dairy. The fixed-array system supplies renewable energy on-site for the family’s dairy farm, making it one step closer to becoming a net-zero energy dairy farm.
By harvesting the sun’s power on 7,840 solar panels on 8 acres, the fixed-array system provides on-site renewable energy that will significantly reduce its need for electricity from the local utility and avoid an estimated 27,500 metric tons of CO2 emissions over the next 20 years. This reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is equal to planting more than 706,000 trees in the next 20 years or removing more than 292 cars from the road annually. The amount of power produced could power 282 average homes a year.
In addition to the new solar array, Joseph Gallo Farms also operates one of the largest and longest-running methane digesters in California, which captures biogas from cow manure and then uses the biogas to fuel generators to produce energy. The electricity produced by this renewable “cow power” is used on-site and significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions and decreases the farm’s dependence on fossil fuels.