Tuesday, January 17, 2012

CA Farmers Drill Wells, Pump with Solar

Drill, baby, drill! Then go solar.... 

Sometimes solutions to problems are hidden in plain sight. Two avocado farmers in San Diego County experienced exactly that.

Their problems were two-fold: The skyrocketing cost of water for irrigation and the equally exploding costs to pump it. Their solution, tripped upon by sheer necessity, came by drilling for their own water, digging their own ponds to hold it and building solar power systems to pump it. Even better, a lot of the equipment and labor was already on hand.

Of course, drilling the wells and making the holding areas cost money but the medium- and long-term savings are considerable. What's more, water availability and the rising
cost for it is mitigated. Going solar however, required some outside expertise.

Enter Larry Slominski.

Slominski's been in solar since way before solar was cool. His first-hand experience ranges from installing off-grid PV systems in Micronesia while in the Peace Corps to a 2MW grid-tied installation at the Fresno-Yosemite International Airport.

Larry Slominski
A mechanical engineer by training, Slominski has been involved with every facet of the solar industry including both crystalline and amorphous-silicon panel technologies; single- and dual-access trackers; concentrated PV; string and micro-inverters; and all forms of ballasted, BIPV and penetrating roof applications and ground-mounted projects. Walking with him at a solar trade show and seeing someone in every third booth hailing Larry like a long-lost army buddy, you know he is a maven of the solar field.

Slominski worked with the two farmers on practical panel array plans on the land made available. His services also included compliance, permitting, rebate and tax incentive advisement, equipment selection and procurement, project oversight, inspection preparation and system commissioning.

"Solar panel prices are at an all-time low and when you add incentives along with the high cost of energy and water, in these cases," says Slominski, "it's a great time to go solar." He said when on-staff farm labor is added to the mix, payback can come in less than five years. One of the two farmers, he says, will save a cool million by taking this new tack.

"Farmers know if they cannot control external market forces, they can  vastly improve their bottom line by drilling their own wells and utilizing solar power," Slominski concludes, "and these two alternatives have been there in plain sight for quite awhile."

For inquiries contact Larry Slominski at LTS Energy, 760/505-6822 (lslominski@aol.com) or David Brands, 760/908-3770 (dbrands72@gmail.com).


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