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Farming company wants to go all-solar. Here’s where it’s planning to build

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Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems can generate clean, cost-effective power anywhere the sun shines. This video shows how a PV panel converts the energy of the sun into renewable electricity to power homes and businesses.

The Wonderful Company, a farming conglomerate with a significant presence in farming and food packing in the central San Joaquin Valley, announced that it plans to convert all of its U.S. operations to fully renewable electricity sources within the next six years.

The Los Angeles-based company already has solar power projects at pistachio, almond and citrus processing facilities in the Valley and its JUSTIN Wines facility in Paso Robles. Earlier this year, it signed an agreement to build a 23-megawatt solar project on fallow farmland the company owns in the Valley that will expand Wonderful’s renewable-energy capacity to provide enough electricity to produce half of its pistachios, almonds and pomegranates and equal about 25 percent of the company’s total energy use worldwide.

The ambitious 100 percent goal for Wonderful’s U.S. renewable energy use by 2025 includes plans to build more renewable electricity projects on land the company owns in Madera, Fresno, Kings and Kern counties. They include ranches and a processing plant in western Madera County near Firebaugh, a pomegranate processing plant in the central Fresno County town of Del Rey, a ranch in western Kings County, a mandarin packing facility in Kern County near Delano, and nut ranches and processing facilities in western Kern County.

Wonderful solar map.JPG
Tim Sheehan The Fresno Bee


“As a responsible steward of the environment, we’ve invested more than $300 million in sustainability research and innovations, clean energy and prudent use of natural resources,” Wonderful Company chairman and president Stewart Resnick said. “This is the natural progression of our sustainability efforts and the right thing for us to do as leaders in the agricultural industry.”

Additionally, the company’s statement says it is aiming for a global 100 percent renewable-energy target by 2040.

Wonderful’s efforts are part of its move to join RE100, a group of more than 160 businesses pledging to convert their electricity demands to 100 percent renewable sources. The coalition is led by The Climate Group, a nonprofit based in London with a division in New York..

Lifelong Valley resident Tim Sheehan has worked in the Valley as a reporter and editor since 1986, and has been at The Fresno Bee since 1998. He is currently The Bee’s data reporter and covers California’s high-speed rail project and other transportation issues. He grew up in Madera, has a journalism degree from Fresno State and a master’s degree in leadership studies from Fresno Pacific University.
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