|Video and Media Carlson Orchards Installs final solar panels…click image to watch video
A view of a 220-kW installation at Carlson Orchards in Harvard, Mass.
The system uses 1,050 Evergreen Solar ES-A series panels and will provide
about two-thirds of the necessary power the orchard uses each year.
It is the largest agricultural solar installation in Massachusetts.
Design/build 220kW ground-mount photovoltaic (PV) system at Carlson Orchards in Harvard, MA. The project is Massachusetts largest solar installation at an agricultural site or farm (more than 3 times larger than the second largest, a 65kW system at Four Star Farms in Northfield, MA). The system covers approximately two acres at the orchard.
Special consideration was given to the architecture of the system, as it is located on slanted ground. Lighthouse worked with Stephen Kelleher Architects in designing a racking system that employs variable length leges to yield a level installation that maximizes each solar panel’s electrical potential.
Lighthouse Project Manager Newell Thomas and President Herb Aikens supervised a field crew of 9 IBEW electricians at peak construction during the 3-month project. The system is comprised of 1,050 Evergreen 210W solar panels, a DPW Solar Corp. ground-mount mounting system at 30 degrees pitch, and solar inverters and data acquisition by Solectria Renewables. Evergreen Solar and Solectria Renewables are both Massachusetts-based companies. DPW Solar Corp. is based in Albuquerque, NM.
The solar project was funded by grants from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC)/Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (CEC). It is among the first solar projects in the State to incorporate virtual netmetering and an MTC/CEC grant.
The PV system is expected to generate approximately two-thirds of the annual energy usage of the orchard, largely for the operation of refrigeration units used to chill and preserve harvested apples. Carlson Orchards is New England’s largest producer of apple cider, producing more than 500,000 gallons annually, which is sold through major chainstore supermarkets, including Whole Foods, Roche Bros., and Donelans. The 120-acre working farm is run by the second generation of Carlsons, Franklyn Carlson, Bruce Carlson and Robert Carlson.
Carlson Orchard’s Solar System Benefits:
Forecasted Electrical Reduction:
Prior annual electrical consumption = 400,000 kWh or $80,000
Expected savings from EE measures = -100,000 kWh
Expected offset from Solar Array = -265,000 kWh
Future consumption assuming all processing times remain constant = 35,000 kWh
CO2 Emissions Prevented:
267,000 kWh of electricity generated from solar is equivalent to 192 metric tons of CO2 that would be obtained through regular electrical generation. This in turn is equivalent to: Annual greenhouse gas emissions from 36.7 passenger vehicles CO2 emissions from 21,569 gallons of gasoline consumed CO2 emissions from 446 barrels of oil consumed