A south Georgia sweet corn grower is using the sun to help power its packinghouse.
Bainbridge, Ga.-based Green Circle Farms which does business as Circle C Farms Inc., is one of the state’s first packinghouses to invest in solar power.
Green Circle/ Hannah SolarBainbridge, Ga.’s Green Circle Farms is powering its corn packinghouse with solar power. Green Circle, which sells corn through Belle Glade, Fla.-based S. M. Jones & Co. Inc., uses the couple hundred solar panels on the packinghouse roof to power a portion of its electrical needs, said Greg Calhoun, Green Circle’s owner.
Calhoun said installing the system seemed to be the right thing to do.
“We understand a lot of these big companies want to see people going green, so they have something they can talk about and advertise to bring customers to them, knowing the producers of product they’re using are doing what they need to do,” Calhoun said. “We think it’s our responsibility to do what we can to support it (the environment).”
Charles Hall, executive director of the La Grange-based Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association, said he’s not aware of any other Georgia packinghouses using solar panels.
Green Circle/ Hannah SolarSolar panels fill the roof of the packinghouse of corn grower Green Circle Farms in Bainbridge, Ga. “This is good and there may be some opportunities for other growers to look at solar as an alternative energy source,” he said. “I’m not sure if there are issues that have prevented people from doing that. From a packing facility standpoint, they’re only operating that operation for a certain percentage of the year. Green Circle obviously figured a way to find a return on investment, which is one of the challenges.”
From 14,000 acres, Green Circle this season plans to pack 750,000 wirebound crates and returnable plastic containers of yellow, white and bicolor corn. Calhoun said the season finished in early July but plans to ship through July 6, a little earlier than normal because of dry conditions.
Calhoun said he became interested in solar power after seeing its successful use at his peanut processor, American Peanut Growers in Donaldsonville, Ga.