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Southern California Edison Uses Coldwell Solar Project for Case Study

By July 30, 2015March 6th, 2017News

ROCKLIN, Calif. July 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ – First major Southern California Edison (SCE) agricultural aggregate meter project interconnected in California.

Comments from Steve Wilbur, Partner of SBS Ag Dairy, “As you can imagine, I have been involved in many projects and, by far, this one with Coldwell Solar is the best I ever dealt with.”

One of the largest costs for dairies is electric power, used seven days a week for lighting and ventilation, feeding and handling, harvesting the milk and cooling it. Fortunately, electric energy is the one cost that can be controlled by dairy farmers. Recognizing this, SBS Ag Dairy partnered with Coldwell Solar to transition to fixed energy costs utilizing attractive financing of a solar energy installation.

As also featured by Southern California Edison (SCE), the relatively new availability of the Net Energy Metering (NEM) Aggregation option was a major factor for SBS Ag Dairy to consider solar. Read full SCE story below:

Energy Management Success Story – SBS Ag

The numbers tell the story for SBS Ag, a fourth-generation diversified farming and dairy operation based in Tulare. The site’s solar photovoltaic (PV) system, which went live in early 2015, is expected to generate more than 1.4 million kilowatt-hours annually, covering up to 90% of SBS Ag’s annual energy use. SBS Ag is projected to receive approximately $179,000 in state-provided California Solar Initiative incentives* to help offset the installation cost of the 962-kilowatt (WDC) system.

A major factor in the decision to install the system was the relatively new availability of the Net Energy Metering (NEM) Aggregation program. With this program, the solar PV system ties into the dairy barn’s meter and the 12 other service accounts’ electrical consumption of kilowatt-hours is reduced by a proportional allocation (at the 15-minute interval level) of the electricity generated by the solar PV system that is exported to the grid.

We Were All on the Same Page

Noted SBS Ag owner Sean Nicholson “Once SCE launched NEM, that’s what really got us going. Because it was a new program, we contacted SCE very early on. That was a key to a successful solar project.

“SCE brought in our Account Manager, an interconnection field engineer, nd its planning department to meet with us and our solar installation company to strategize the best options for the project,” he added. “We were all on the same page. Because we did that, it was pretty seamless.”

It’s About Hedging Our Costs SBS Ag originally looked at solar options around 2008; at that time, the numbers just didn’t work for the company. But seeing more use of the technology by agricultural operations several years later, as well as SCE’s addition of the NEM Aggregation program, Nicholson revisited solar and saw that it had become much more affordable.

He said, “It is about hedging our costs for the company as part of the potential rise in energy costs, plus using green energy. SCE made it a smooth process to help us achieve our goals. For as new as the NEM program was, I was expecting a lot more issues and they just weren’t there.” SBS Ag is the first major SCE agricultural customer to use NEM Aggregation. But the company is also active in other programs that help it save energy and money and improve the environment.

For its 18 pumps, SBS Ag taps into our free Pump Test Services to identify and improve pump plant efficiencies. In addition, SBS Ag participates in the Agricultural and Pumping Interruptible Program, which provides bill credits in exchange for allowing temporary interruption of electric service during peak-demand periods, helping to relieve stress on the electric grid and improving your bottom line.

The Savings Are Huge for Our Business

As SBS Ag moved forward to enhance its energy management initiatives, Nicholson said it became clear that, “solar had become the best option to lower operating costs, plus support the environment by using renewable energy. It fit in our business plan, and the savings are huge for our business.”

As a business owner or manager, you have a wide selection of savings opportunities and SCE can deliver energy management programs and solutions with incentives and bill credits to go with them. Our energy management solutions offer a range of efficiency options, developed with your industry in mind, to help your business maximize savings over the long term through the permanent and temporary reduction of electric usage.


What is the NEM Aggregation Program?

The NEM Aggregation program expands on the existing Net Energy Metering (NEM) program by allowing a single generating facility, up to 1MW AC in size, to offset electricity usage at aggregated meters located on the same property, or on properties adjacent or contiguous to the property where the generating facility is located as long as the same utility customer owns, rents or leases each property.

With NEM Aggregation, SBS Ag Dairy and Coldwell Solar worked together to determine the most effective solution. As Sean Nicholson, Owner of SBS Ag Dairy stated, “solar had become the best option to lower operating costs, plus support the environment by using renewable energy. It fit in our business plan, and the savings are huge for our business.”

Today, the 962.32 kW DC solar system ties into SBS Ag Dairy’s barn meter with the excess generation applied to 12 other meters located on the same property, under the NEM Aggregation program, offsetting up to 90% of the dairy’s annual energy consumption. The annual power production is equal to 2,352,748 miles not driven by a passenger vehicle or switching out 25,848 incandescent lamps to CFL.

About Coldwell Solar

Coldwell Solar, Inc. is headquartered in Rocklin, California, with additional offices in Visalia, Burbank and Petaluma. Since 1986 the company’s stringent standards of quality and transparency, coupled with integrity in all of the company’s work, is reflected in the core business values from management to integration. Coldwell Solar focuses on serving utilities, commercial buildings, processing facilities, schools, manufacturing and industrial companies, agriculture, architects and general contractors. The company is certified to meet the most complex standards and consistently delivers the highest-quality, long-lasting workmanship.

For more information visit: or call 1-888-705-5055

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