Drive around almost any neighborhood and you’ll find homes that have converted to solar energy. At Live Oak Farms, we began our conversion to solar in 2011 that enables us to power our packing operations. And, in the last year, our commitment to solar energy expanded and we’re now using solar on the farm. Yes, the farm!
We’ve just celebrated our first anniversary for our latest project – a 632 kilowatt solar array in Merced County. With over 2,000 solar panels, this is by far the largest solar project we’ve undertaken and is used to offset the power needs for the pumps that bring water to our ranches.
The latest expansion along with the initial system brings Live Oak’s total solar capacity to over 1.35 million kWh annually. In terms that we can all better identify with, we’re generating enough power equal to eliminating 2 million lbs. of CO2 from the earth’s atmosphere, removing 200 cars from the road, or reducing 340 tons of waste sent to landfills. Our commitment to solar energy is another example of Live Oak Farms sustainable farming practices.
As a fourth generation family owned grower, we’ve faced many challenges over the years. We converted to drip irrigation long before the current drought began. In doing so, we’ve dramatically reduced our water use. And now, we’re investing in solar energy that will provide the power needed to run our pumps and do so at far less expense than relying upon the grid. Smart decisions now enable Live Oak Farms to continue growing tomatoes, peppers, and almonds for years to come.