A Family Farm with Solar and Sustainable Practices

A Family Farm with Solar and Sustainable Practices

Quick Facts

217 kW

System Size

SunPower® Rooftop

System Type

$56,000

Estimated First Year Savings

$1.3 million

Estimated 25-Year Savings

 

A Family Farm with Solar and Sustainable Practices

Challenge

Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company, a sustainable dairy farm and

creamery headquartered in Marin County, California, was interested in adding

solar energy to it’s new production and distribution facility in nearby Sonoma

County. The goal was to reduce energy costs and complement the company’s

extensive sustainability practices.

 

Solution

SunPower dealer Sunlight Electric designed and installed a 217 kW system

on the roofs of the company’s Petaluma creamery and packaging building

and cold storage warehouse, taping into the high power of the

SunPower solution.

 

Benefits

Going solar enables Point Reyes to reduce electricity costs by approximately

56% while furthering the company’s goals of environmental and financial

sustainability. The clean energy produced on site is expected to eliminate an

estimated 550,000 pounds of CO2 from the air annually, the same level of

emissions generated by fossil-fuel-generated electricity to power 45 homes.

 

Four Generations of Family Farming

Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co. is more than a dairy operation and award

winning artisan cheese producer. It’s a family farming tradition that stretches

back more than 100 years, when Tobias Giacomini emigrated from northern

Italy to farm the fertile lands of northern California.

Today, three great-granddaughters of Tobias own the artisanal cheese-making

business. Jill, Lynn and Diana recently expanded their father’s original dairy

farm in Point Reyes with a location in Petaluma to increase production of their

highly popular cheeses, including Toma, Gouda, Bay Blue and their signature

Original Blue.

 

Expansion takes energy, however, and the Petaluma operation is highly

electricity-intensive. Even during the Covid-19 pandemic, when production

capacity dipped to 50%, electricity bills topped $100,000 annually.

As sustainable farmers and astute entrepreneurs, the Giacomini sisters are

highly aware of their carbon footprint. Knowing their electricity costs would only

increase as production rebounded, they called on the team at Sunlight Electric

for a solar solution to their energy needs.

 

Sunlight designed and installed a 217 kW SunPower rooftop system for the

nearly 11,000-square-foot facility. The financials were enticing, with expected

first-year savings of over 50% and federal and state tax credits making the

decision that much easier. The system is projected to pay for itself in just

six years.

 

“We are in high-growth mode and knowing we can use the substantial annual

savings for expansion and increased production capacity is just what we

needed,” says co-owner and CMO Jill Giacomini Basch.

 

“We chose SunPower due to the higher efficiency and greater production,

given our limited roof space. With SunPower, we achieve greater offset

and initial savings, and with the low degradation, greater lifetime

savings.”

Lynn Giacomini

Stray Co-Owner / COO

 

A Growing Emphasis on Sustainability

Going solar at the production facility complements the many sustainability

initiatives at work on the farm, including methane-powered renewable energy,

extensive composting, an innovative water reuse and recycling system and

pasture management focusing on soil nutrition and erosion control.

 

“The happiness of our cows depends on healthy diets and land stewardship, so

sustainability is placed above all else,” says CFO, Diana Giacomini Hagan.

Bringing solar to Petaluma is a way for the company to further their

objectives to focus on environmental and financial sustainability in all areas of

its business.

 

“The farm has sustained our family for going on four generations,” notes

Giacomini Hagan. “We feel honored and obliged to sustain it in every way

possible. Not only as a legacy to pass along to our children and their children,

but as an example for farming that promotes healthy food and a healthy

environment for everyone.”

 

Co-Owners Lynn, Jill and Diana Giacomini

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