The company is using the sun not only to grow berries but also to cut its operational costs.
Driscolls is a California-based global leader in fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. The company develops exclusive patented berry varieties using only traditional breeding methods. The Sun, which helps them grow berries of different kinds, is now helping them reduce their carbon footprints and reduce their electricity bills.
Berries are a delicate fruit and are vulnerable to heat. They require state-of-the-art cooling facilities to be chilled to the perfect temperature as quickly as possible. Being a market leader, Driscoll’s has such facilities around the world. Recently the company installed a solar + storage system on their Santa Maria cooling facility. Driscoll’s is in the early stages of pursuing clean and alternative energy sources for its owned and operated coolers across North America.
Did You know:
(i) A dedicated team of more than 30 at Driscoll’s consists of many agronomists, breeders, sensory analysts, plant pathologists, and entomologists help grow baby seedlings that are then grown on local family farms.
(ii) Driscolls grows berries in 21 countries and sells them in 48.
(iii) In 2017, it controlled roughly one-third of the $6 billion U.S. berry market.
(iv) Driscolls berries are patent protected.
Headquartered in Watsonville, CA, Driscoll’s has installed 3,384 solar panels on its 155,000 square-foot Santa Maria cooling facility. The system is likely to produce 1.4 million kilowatt-hours of power annually.
Considering the additional benefit of batteries, the company, in addition to solar panels, also installed an energy storage system that can hold up to 700 kilowatt-hours of backup power. Collectively, both the systems i.e. Solar + Storage will allow the organization to trim about 92% of the facility’s energy usage. The system further helps the company to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. The same will be equivalent to removing more than 7,750 cars from the road over the course of 25 years.
“The solar installation in Santa Maria is the first of several planned energy investments,” said J. Miles Reiter, Chairman, and CEO of Driscoll’s. “We view this inaugural installation as a commitment to Santa Maria, our employees, and our local growers. It’s an investment in our future by having clean technology to support our local operations.”
Driscolls own staff, community members, and local dignitaries along with Alice Patino, Mayor- Santa Maria, assembled at the facility for a ribbon-cutting ceremony as well as in support of the company’s transition to solar power. Hon’ble Mayor commended Driscoll’s for elevating agriculture’s longstanding positive impact on the community by leading with clean and renewable energy.
Berries are delicate and perishable fruit that must be kept in controlled temperatures as much as possible. Such activities require a significant amount of energy consumption. Driscoll’s decision to transform its Santa Maria facility to clean energy is a continuation of its 50-year commitment to the community, employees, and local grower network.
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