The agriculture / water / energy problem: You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Due to a combination of a lack of data, high energy costs, and limited mobile applications in the field, farmers can spend up to 50 percent more on energy than necessary during farming operations, particularly when operating irrigation pumps.
To help solve this problem, CalCom Solar and Wexus Technologies have joined forces on new cutting-edge technologies to save energy and water. Wexus was recently awarded a $4 million grant by the California Energy Commission (CEC) to commercialize a cloud-based, mobile platform for the agricultural industry that will serve to make the industrial and agricultural sectors more efficient. CalCom Solar is partnering with Wexus to deploy their technologies across agricultural sites throughout California.
The software is going to leverage existing utility meter data to help growers access on-farm electricity and water information from mobile and desktop devices. By leveraging this information and through energy-saving recommendations, growers can quickly adjust operations to optimize energy usage and costs.
“Wexus and CalCom are delivering clean energy systems and revolutionary tools for farmers and growers that assess and analyze numerous factors —including historical and future electrical rate increases, water/irrigation patterns based on delivery of surface vs. groundwater, energy use by crop types— to generate the most precise energy and water use projections in the industry,” said CalCom Solar CEO Nic Stover. “Leveraging the internet of things and other tech advances, we’re deploying networked devices in the field to gather energy and water use information for agricultural businesses and water districts. This helps growers understand the impacts of electricity costs on their water management and agricultural operations. The data is used to devise an energy approach that deploys optimized solar arrays — specifically designed to make energy and water use as efficient as possible.”
“We’re honored to be selected by the California Energy Commission to further develop and commercialize the Wexus platform, and we’re excited to be partnering with CalCom Solar in the Ag energy sector,” said Wexus Technologies CEO and co-founder Chris Terrell. “This grant and the CalCom / Wexus collaboration will enable us to further deploy technology that empowers growers to save energy, water and lower operational costs when they need it most: during an unprecedented drought in California.”
California Energy Commission Chair Robert B. Weisenmiller said the drought has provided California with new opportunities to lead in advanced technology.
“In response to the drought and the Governor’s Executive Order, the Energy Commission has invested in water-saving innovative technologies,” Weisenmiller said. “These projects will increase energy efficiency at water-related facilities and enable better management in sectors -such as agriculture- that are typically large water users. We look forward to funding similar projects through our Water Energy Technologies program this summer.”
CalCom Solar is California-based solar provider serving agriculture and water districts, and has extensive expertise in Ag energy/water-use optimization. CalCom has developed proprietary Solar AG Energy (SAGE) analysis software to analyze numerous factors —including historical and future rate increases, water/irrigation patterns, crop types, etc.—to generate the most precise energy projections in the industry.
— Solar Builder magazine