From Almonds to Pears to Cherries, Ag Industry Does More with Sunlight Using SunPower's Complete Solar Solutions

California Leads as the Nation's Top Solar and Agricultural Producing State

In California where over one-third of the country's vegetables and two-thirds of the country's fruits and nuts are grown, businesses in the agricultural industry are looking for ways to reduce costs while continuing to deliver high quality products. In one of the nation's sunniest states, farmers, food processers, beverage suppliers and more have used complete solar solutions from SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) to save on one of their largest operating expenses: electricity.

One grower-owned almond processor based in the 7-square-mile town of Buttonwillow, Calif., now offsets 90 percent of its electricity costs with a 1-megawatt SunPower® Helix™ system. Golden Empire Shelling can see up to 70 million pounds of almonds roll through its state-of-the-art facility each year. With limited land and water resources in the area, the company chose a solar solution that delivers 29 percent more energy per square foot compared to conventional systems, and can be robotically cleaned with 75 percent less water than manual methods.

"Land and water come at a premium in our valley, so it was imperative that we get the most value out of our over 4-acre solar installation," said John Wynn, general manager of Golden Empire Shelling and 20-year almond industry veteran. "With the cost-competitive solar generated by our SunPower Helix system, Golden Empire Shelling will be able to dramatically reduce electricity costs and our carbon footprint for at least the next 20 years."

Golden Empire Shelling's SunPower Helix system was installed by SunPower by Sun Solar. Celebrating its one year anniversary recently, the Helix platform is the world's first fully-integrated solar solution for commercial customers. Available for installation as a carport, on the roof, or as a ground-mounted technology, the Helix platform is a pre-engineered, modular solution designed to deliver more energy and greater reliability than conventional solar products.   

"With our experience providing innovative SunPower® solar solutions and significant savings to ag customers, we were able to design a highly efficient system for Golden Empire Shelling that is expected to meet the needs of their energy intensive operation for years to come," said Jeff Periera, owner of SunPower by Sun Solar, a SunPower master dealer. "With the integrated Helix platform, every component is designed to maximize energy from the sun, perform reliably and take up less space. It's also quick and easy to install which is great for us, and ideal for our customers that have a business to run."

Hundreds of miles away in Lodi, Calif., Rivermaid Trading Co. processes and ships more than 50 percent of the state's pears and eight percent of the state's cherries. With a 1.47-megawatt SunPower system, the company expects to save more than $13 million on electricity costs over the next 25 years.

"Corporations of all sizes are embracing solar energy as a cornerstone of their operations," said Tom Werner, SunPower president and CEO. "In the United States, for example, seven of the top 10 corporate solar users have chosen SunPower. As we continue to innovate with leading efficiency panels and complete solutions, more businesses are realizing the long-term value that reliable, high quality solar technology can offer."      

SunPower continues to innovate on products that create even more value for customers. The company's latest generation of the Oasis® power plant designed for large power plant installations, is a complete solution enabling dual use of sites for both electricity and food production. Greater distance between the Oasis tracker rows allows for integrated agricultural activity. SunPower is partnering with University of California, Davis, a global leader in agricultural studies, to evaluate possible crop varieties and yield.

As the number of solar installations increase around the world, the thoughtful integration of solar power systems with agricultural lands and businesses is vitally important for the future of clean energy. 


The machinery consists of DESERT production machines for high-efficiency DESERT solar modules built specifically for extreme hot climate, such as can be seen in deserts or in tropical areas. Made solely in Germany and built using the latest in DESERT and TROPIC module production, the systems inlcudes all cutting-edge technology.

Certified DESERT solar modules, DESERT containers, DESERT power plants and DESERT manufacturing machinery built using pioneering DESERT and TROPICS technology are now fully set up, and ready to perform. But powering on the machinery has been a long time coming. Up until recently, this advanced piece of equipment had been waiting for clearance at a port in Brazil. Now that the formalities have been dealt with, both J.v.G. Thoma and its customer in Brazil can get production under way.

J.v.G. Thoma GmbH is a company whose vision has always been to harness the infinite power of the sun and convert it into an inexhaustible supply of energy. But a vision such as this requires global reach, and this project has opened new doors. Brazil is not only a gateway to South American cooperation, but also the launchpad to international reach and expansion.

Following the delivery of this initial order, J.v.G. Thoma GmbH will be looking forward to an ongoing collaboration with the Brazilian company. From setup and initial training to setting the scene for a ramp up, J.v.G. Thoma will be there to provide expertise and assistance. Moreover, the company will be jointly responsible, along with the client, for the successful integration of the DESERT solar module factory.

In the future, bigger DESERT power plants will be set up on Brazilian soil, and together with existing turnkey production systems, they intend to take up a large share of the products and assets this sector will possess locally. J.v.G. Thoma plans to build up a local network of sales agents that can extend a premium offering to neighbouring countries in South America. Eventually, the company hopes to be able to expand its customer base to clients in North America.

Hans Thoma, general manager from the Thoma-group, is eager to acquire a substantial market share in Brazil, a growing country with tremendous potential for solar energy output. Having complied with local official procedures (Inmetro, TÜV, Fraunhofer CSP) and cleared the way for future business collaboration, he expresses his hope that the solar industry will henceforth expand quickly.

”Being able to introduce Brazil to the infinite opportunities of a solar industry is a privilege for J.v.G. Thoma GmbH, and one that we are extremely grateful for. At the same time, this placed the ball squarely in our court, and the pressure to get the ball rolling quickly was high. Now that the lengthy initial formalities are out of the way, we can focus on making this project a success.“

The first DESERT solar module production in BRAZIL! Lets go ....
J.v.G. Thoma GmbH is delivering a DESERT turnkey production line to Brazil, the first of its kind and hopefully the first in many breakthroughs to leave the factory floor on their way to the largest country in South America. With a capacity of 30 MW, this is a small semi-automatic DESERT production line, but still a flagship in terms of DESERT solar module production and electricity generation in the country, now fully functional and ready to start with operation.

The machinery consists of DESERT production machines for high-efficiency DESERT solar modules built specifically for extreme hot climate, such as can be seen in deserts or in tropical areas. Made solely in Germany and built using the latest in DESERT and TROPIC module production, the systems inlcudes all cutting-edge technology.

Certified DESERT solar modules, DESERT containers, DESERT power plants and DESERT manufacturing machinery built using pioneering DESERT and TROPICS technology are now fully set up, and ready to perform. But powering on the machinery has been a long time coming. Up until recently, this advanced piece of equipment had been waiting for clearance at a port in Brazil. Now that the formalities have been dealt with, both J.v.G. Thoma and its customer in Brazil can get production under way.

J.v.G. Thoma GmbH is a company whose vision has always been to harness the infinite power of the sun and convert it into an inexhaustible supply of energy. But a vision such as this requires global reach, and this project has opened new doors. Brazil is not only a gateway to South American cooperation, but also the launchpad to international reach and expansion.

Following the delivery of this initial order, J.v.G. Thoma GmbH will be looking forward to an ongoing collaboration with the Brazilian company. From setup and initial training to setting the scene for a ramp up, J.v.G. Thoma will be there to provide expertise and assistance. Moreover, the company will be jointly responsible, along with the client, for the successful integration of the DESERT solar module factory.

In the future, bigger DESERT power plants will be set up on Brazilian soil, and together with existing turnkey production systems, they intend to take up a large share of the products and assets this sector will possess locally. J.v.G. Thoma plans to build up a local network of sales agents that can extend a premium offering to neighbouring countries in South America. Eventually, the company hopes to be able to expand its customer base to clients in North America.

Hans Thoma, general manager from the Thoma-group, is eager to acquire a substantial market share in Brazil, a growing country with tremendous potential for solar energy output. Having complied with local official procedures (Inmetro, TÜV, Fraunhofer CSP) and cleared the way for future business collaboration, he expresses his hope that the solar industry will henceforth expand quickly.

”Being able to introduce Brazil to the infinite opportunities of a solar industry is a privilege for J.v.G. Thoma GmbH, and one that we are extremely grateful for. At the same time, this placed the ball squarely in our court, and the pressure to get the ball rolling quickly was high. Now that the lengthy initial formalities are out of the way, we can focus on making this project a success.“

The first DESERT solar module production in BRAZIL! Let
Source: SunPower Corporation