Primex Farms starts solar project at Wasco plant

Construction has started on a 1.1 megawatt solar system at a Wasco farm, officials said today.

The project is headed by San Diego-based Cenergy Power at a pistachio plant owned by Primex Farms, which grows and processes pistachios and distributes dried fruit and other nuts. A single megawatt is about the amount consumed by 1,000 homes.

"The decision to go solar was a natural next step in our continuous endeavor to incorporate environmentally green concepts into our business," says Ali Amin, CEO of Primex Farms, in a statement.

Amin said the move made sense as Primex also was among the first in its industry to recycle solid waste and water at the Wasco facility.

Photovoltaic panels will be installed over carports, roofs and ground space. Officials estimate the energy savings is "equivalent to removing 1,283 metric tons of CO2 from the atmosphere or planting 274 acres of pine forest annually."

Under the deal, Cenergy will provide 10 years of scheduled operations and maintenance. Cenergy also has projects at a Merced nut hulling plant at 540 kilowatts, a Turlock almond hulling plant at 504 kilowatts and a number of other locations across the state.