Solar Powered Rice Plant to Get Electricity from Mitsubishi Photovoltaic Panels

Mitsubishi Electric & Electronics USA, Inc. provided over 5,500 photovoltaic (PV) modules for a one megawatt solar electric system at Far West Rice Mills in Nelson, Calif. The system is expected to deliver 1,440,000 kWh a year, approximately 70 to 80 percent of the plant’s total energy need. The multi-million dollar solar project, installed by Pacific Power Management of Auburn, Calif., qualifies for $1.8 million in rebates from Pacific Gas & Electric.

Far West Rice, Inc. is a family owned and operated rice milling and marketing company located in the heart of Northern California’s rice growing region. The company operates its milling facility in accordance with California Certified Organic Farmers Associations (CCOF) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic guidelines and actively markets organically produced rice. The addition of a one-megawatt solar electric system that uses lead-free solder PV modules underscores Far West Rice Mills’ commitment to protect the environment and sustainable farming practices.

Mitsubishi Electric’s high-strength, corrosion-resistant modules contain no lead solder, a technology Mitsubishi Electric introduced to America in 2005. Instead of lead-solder coating for the cells, Mitsubishi Electric developed silver electrodes that offer superior weatherproofing and higher PV module conversion efficiency.

“We are pleased that Mitsubishi Electric PV technology was chosen for this major agricultural installation,” says Gina Heng, director of sales and marketing for Mitsubishi Electric & Electronics, USA’s photovoltaic division. “Agribusiness shares our concern about the rising cost of energy and solar can help provide predictable energy costs over the long-term.”

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