Nichols Farms, a California pistachio farm, recently completed a massive solar energy project which some experts believe could revolutionize farm production in the United States. California solar energy company Bechtel Power Corporation recently finished installation of a six-acre solar panel array designed to drastically reduce the farm’s need for fossil fuels.
Upon completion of this project, the Nichols Farm will have between 50 and 70 percent of its electrical energy supplied by solar power. The massive solar power project is the first of its kind in the California Central Valley, and maybe the first of its kind in the nation.
Solar companies like Bechtel and their partner SolFocus, hope that this project will inspire other farmers to adopt greener energy sources. Solar power, Bechtel claims, is remarkably adaptable and flexible. Thanks to recent technological advances, it is also more affordable and efficient.
The future of the Nichols Farm could play a major role in the future of American agriculture and energy independence. Increasing fuel costs have played a large role in the increase in food costs as well as the increasing economic hardships facing many farmers in the U.S. While biofuel and ethanol have been touted as immediate successors to fossil fuels, solar energy, which leaves a smaller environmental footprint and is completely renewable, could help revolutionize agricultural production.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer