Goodwin Self Eco Consulting, LLC., recently completed work on the largest private solar PV installation in the Northern Valley at the De Pue rice drying warehouse in Maxwell, Calif. The 1MW system, establishing De Pue as an energy leader, went into production at the end of 2009.
On July 15, 2009, the New York Times reported, “The solar capacity in California grew by a third from 2007 to 2008. It now represents about two-thirds of the national total, according to the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, a nonprofit group promoting expansion of solar energy.”
‘Neutral company with expertise’
The consulting company is working with SPG Solar using Suntech solar modules with Sunseeker single axis trackers on De Pue’s five-acre site to offset 80 percent of the facility’s electrical bill. According to the EPA, this system will cut emissions of CO2 by 1,500 metric tons per year. This is the equivalent of the carbon sequestration of 322 acres of forest per year.
Goodwin Self Eco Consulting is an innovative company driven by its goal to put Northern California agri-businesses ahead of the energy curve.
“Many businesses are inundated with sales pitches from solar companies,” says owner, Nick Goodwin Self. “They need a neutral company with expertise like ours to help them identify their unique needs, match them with solar solutions and navigate the implementation process. We represent the client and have no financial alliances with any solar integrators or manufacturers.”
When Goodwin Self Eco Consulting began working with De Pue, the warehouse had already been approached by nine solar companies, all of which appeared to offer different things.
Farm Credit provides financing
“We chose Goodwin Self’s company because they are wholly independent and, as experts in the solar industry, had a better understanding of our needs and which solar options made the most sense,” explains Kevin Dennis, president of De Pue Warehouse. “They took the entire burden of solarizing off our shoulders by managing the transition from clarifying the initial bids to the system going live.”
Colusa-Glenn Farm Credit in Colusa, Calif., is financing the system. “It was a tremendous asset when we were looking for financing to be able to talk directly to president Jim Vierra at Farm Credit,” says Goodwin Self. “Jim is not only knowledgeable about solar, he’s also looking into installing it on the bank, which is another Goodwin Self Eco Consulting project.”
“We saw that solar was a good investment,” says Vierra, who has worked in banking with farmers for over 30 years, “and were able to put together a deal which benefits both De Pue and Farm Credit.”
“De Pue will pay back the loan and have almost free energy within seven years, making them much more competitive,” added Goodwin Self. “Right now farmers are in a unique position to transition to free energy. The dramatic price decrease of solar panels, the availability of federal grants and incentives, a five year accelerated depreciation option and access to excellent Farm Credit interest rates mean there are numerous options to make solar viable. Once it’s clear to any business how the numbers work - if they’ve got the capability to go solar – they will.”