Keeping it cool with solar energy - The Packer

Keeping it cool with solar energy

01/09/2013 12:42:00 PM
Coral Beach

Officials with Agriculture Energies LLC say using the sun to keep fresh produce cool can save companies up to 75% on cold storage energy costs when it’s combined with LED lighting and solar sun tracker panels.

Seth Pepper, a principal with Tuscon, Ariz.-based Agriculture Energies, said independent energy sources such as solar power especially make sense for agricultural businesses because they can lower operating costs across the entire operation, from irrigation systems to cold rooms for finished product.

The company, founded in 2007, exclusively serves agricultural clients. Pepper said one of its goals is to help agricultural operations lock in energy costs. In some scenarios, switching to solar can even boost bottom lines because they can sell excess power to local utility companies.

“In the agriculture business community there are many prices you can’t control, like crop prices, but owners can gain control of their operating costs through independent energy,” Senior systems designer Chuck Helmke said.

Courtesy Agriculture EnergiesProprietary features in the solar sun tracker systems from Agriculture Energies LLC, Tuscon, Ariz., can increase solar panel production by more than 50% compared to traditional systems, said chief technology officer Chuck Helmke.Among the systems offered by Agriculture Energies is a proprietary sun tracker system, which Helmke said increases solar panel production by more than 50% compared to traditional solar panel systems.

The setup has a non-penetrating roof system that makes it possible for facilities to continue operations during installation. Unique designs also allow the systems to be installed without having to alter existing structures because they distribute the weight differently than traditional solar panel arrays.

Traditional solar power systems use components from various suppliers and often don’t use comprehensive design principles, Pepper said. Helmke said a key feature of the Agriculture Energies solar systems is that all subsystems and components are interconnected. They use global positioning technology and are WiFi capable.

An “intelligent” solar controller monitors, diagnoses and reports system operations and integrated inverters provide better motion control for tracking systems to maximize power output by accurately following the sun.

Pepper said Agriculture Energies works with clients to help them take full advantage of government incentives for alternative energy systems, which further reduces costs for growers, packers and shippers.

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Tom Morley    
Scotland  |  January, 11, 2013 at 11:02 AM

Solar has proven itself as an effective method of lowering overheads and reducing reliance on fossil fuels -

January, 14, 2013 at 11:29 PM

This is a blatant advertising by Tom.

D J Mody    
Mesa AZ.  |  January, 16, 2013 at 06:30 PM

Have you got any installation to see? I have a possible customer who might want to try an installation in Yuma.

January, 18, 2013 at 12:40 PM

Our recent experience level: we just broke ground on a 3MW project and have successfully completed major energy generation projects that range in size from specialized 5kW sites to multiple megawatt utility scale sites, as well as many retrofit installations with clients on the Fortune 500 list. The Agriculture Energies development team has been active in project studies, engineering, estimating, scheduling, contracting, construction, and startup for more than 40 years. Over $20 billion in project planning and engineering experience which includes more than 40 major sites throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, and South America. Please contact us or forward our information onto others: Seth Pepper 520-369-AGRI ...we'd be happy to answer any questions.

January, 18, 2013 at 03:36 PM

Yes. 520-369-AGRI

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