In Massachusetts, Carlson Orchards has installed a 220 kilowatt solar photovoltaic system. The solar system will supply about two-thirds of the facility’s electricity. The farm grows apples, nectarines and peaches. They also make about 500,000 gallons of cider each year. The solar panels are being used to power the cider press, and large refrigeration buildings for preserving the fruits grown on site.
Evergreen Solar provided the solar panel technology and Lighthouse Electrical Construction installed the system on two acres on the Carlson Orchards’ land. The panels were products of Massachusetts, so the whole project has helped the local economy, and will continue to do so. Using electricity from solar rather than non-renewable sources will reduce CO2 emissions by an estimated 3,700 metric tons per year.
CEO of Carlson Orchards, Frank Carlson said, “I had looked at solar incentives, but Symantha Gates of EC3 Consulting helped guide and provide us a vision — a sustainability approach for our power consumption — that was viable. She managed our financing and project implementation.” Samantha Gates founded EC3 to develop green energy projects like the one for Carlson Farms. She helped secure grants from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative of over $500,000 and another of $278,000 from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.
The over 1,000 solar panels are integrated into the farm’s landscape, and are near a high traffic area, so thousands of people will get to see them. The architecture firm Stephen Kelleher Architects, assisted with the design of the solar plant.
Carlson Orchards has been in business since 1938. In addition to growing produce for markets, they allow visitors to pick their own fruit. Their farm is 120 acres.
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