Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, one of the nation’s larger pistachio processors, hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony, luncheon and facilities tour Friday, July 15 to formally unveil a recently completed solar power system at its processing facility in Terra Bella, CA. The combined 1.7-megawatt solar power system is believed to be the largest solar power system in California’s Central Valley. The event was announced in a press release dated July 13.
“Setton’s innovative solar power system will produce more than 2.6 million kilowatt hours of clean energy each year which will be harnessed to sort, roast and package an estimated 80 million pounds of pistachios annually at Setton’s 300,000-square-foot processing facility,” the release stated. “The project will offset the processing facility’s energy bill by 100 percent, according to Jeff Gibbons, grower relations manager for Setton Pistachio.”
The release quoted Lee Cohen, general manager, as saying, “We are a family business and the decisions we make have to be good for customers and our growers, partners and suppliers. This project was an obvious next step in practicing what we preach about our dedication to the valley’s environment and sustainable business practices.”
The statistics on Setton’s renewable energy system “are stunning,” the press release said. Among them are: “Emissions savings equal to planting 400 acres of new pine forest annually, carbon emission offsets of 1,880 metric tons every year, renewable energy credits totaling 2,618 per year, and an estimated $14 million in energy savings over 25 years.”
According to the release, “the dual solar power system consists of a 1.220-megawatt combination carport and ground-mounted system and a 560.28-kilowatt ground-mounted system. The integrated systems were built on 7.5 acres near Setton’s processing facility. Placing some of the solar panels atop a newly constructed car port has two-fold benefits — hundreds of employee cars are kept cooler throughout the day, reducing the need to blast car air conditioners and increase emissions at the end of the workday, as well as providing an elevated location for solar panels.”
The new solar power system “is just one way that Setton Pistachio has gone green,” the release continues. “Setton also recycles the water used in pistachio processing, using it as irrigation water for orchards. The firm also turns 100 percent of the ag hull waste from nut processing into cattle feed, thus keeping 300 million pounds of waste out of Central Valley landfills.”
The release quotes Mr. Cohen as saying: “Treating environmental resources with care and respect is integral to the success of our business and to the sustainability of the Valley’s environment. After all, we rely on natural resources to produce our product and we have long been dedicated to embracing a sustainable platform. It’s our commitment to the future.”