Coast Citrus Distributors, a wholesaler of fruits and vegetables in the United States and Mexico since 1950, completed the latest solar system installation on one of its facilities — a 432 kilowatt (kW) roof-mount solar energy system in Union City, Calif. The company’s solar portfolio also includes a 1.1 megawatt and 655 kW roof-mounted system on its Los Angeles and San Diego facilities, respectively. Borrego Solar Systems developed, designed and built Coast Citrus’ systems.
Together the systems are expected to generate approximately 4.1 million kilowatt-hours of energy annually, which will significantly reduce Coast Citrus’ energy costs.
“After deciding to move forward with solar on our San Diego headquarters in 2015, we were convinced that it was the right economic decision for all of our facilities,” said Coast Citrus Chief Financial Officer Isabel Freeland. “It simply makes sense for us, given our large warehouse buildings with open flat roofs, the amount of energy we use and the nature of utility rates in Southern California. Solar aligns with our aim to improving the value we provide for customers and being a more sustainable organization.”
Coast Citrus financed each of its solar projects with operational leases with Farmers and Merchant Bank. The lease enabled the company to go solar without paying any upfront costs and realize cost savings as soon as the system began operating.
“Coast Citrus’ facilities’ energy needs made solar an ideal choice for lowering its operational costs,” said Kyle Kearney, VP of project development—Western region for Borrego Solar. “It’s use of ripening rooms, freezers, refrigerators and packing machinery, use a lot of energy, making rising, volatile energy rates a risk factor for the growing company. With solar, Coast Citrus is able to reduce the amount of energy it needs to buy from the utility and minimizes its exposure to increasing energy costs while it continues to expand operations.”
Throughout the term of the lease, the system is expected to generate enough emissions-free, clean energy to offset nearly 3,300 tons of carbon dioxide—the equivalent of offsetting emissions from 8 million miles driven or the amount sequestered by more than 3,800 acres of U.S. forests.
— Solar Builder magazine