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A Family Farm with Solar and Sustainable Practices
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.
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
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
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
“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
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
“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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