Food and commercial crops that grow outside can soak up sunshine in order to grow. But move those same plants indoors as part of so-called “controlled-environment agriculture” and the associated energy costs can make all but the highest-margin crops prohibitively expensive.
That’s because in a greenhouse or plant factory, up to 60% of operating costs can go to energy; about half of that goes to lighting. And, because the grid still is not decarbonized, fossil-based electricity sources wind up making controlled environment agriculture something less than green.
In an effort to address provide a low-carbon and affordable source of electricity, Arcadia Power has entered into a partnership with global indoor farming company Freight Farms. Customers who use Freight Farms’ hydroponic shipping container farms can opt for 100% clean energy using Arcadia’s clean energy subscription service.
For Arcadia, the Freight Farms partnership represents a new market as 99% of its business up to now has been in residential solar. The company was founded in 2015, and its load aggregation platform integrates with more than 100 utilities in all 50 states.
“Finding a clean energy source [for our farmers] has been a mission for the company,” said Rick Vanzura, Freight Farms’ CEO. Electricity use accounts for a whopping 96% of one of its Greenery shipping container farm’s carbon footprint. In agriculture, soil health, water conservation, transportation miles and power usage all are big sustainability issues.
Read more at PV Magazine (J. Haggerty)