New off-grid microgrid to power Central Valley cold storage facility for almond industry

Dec. 7, 2022
Built by Scale Microgrid, the project will provide reliable power to Amond World's new refrigerated cold storage facility in California's Central Valley. The facility will serve the region's almond farmers.

Amond World, a refrigerated cold storage developer in California’s Central Valley has partnered with Origo Investments to build a facility in the Madera Airport Industrial Park that will include an off-grid microgrid designed and built by Scale Microgrid.

The facility will serve the region's almond farmers and processors.

The Central California almond industry produces 80% of the world’s global supply of almonds, according to Adam Hayner, principal at Origo Investments. The region also grows 60% of the citrus and other nuts consumed in the US each year. 

Why agriculture is turning to microgrids

California is in the midst of an energy crisis with energy shortfalls and extreme weather jeopardizing the reliability of the Central Valley’s local grid. This puts the almond and citrus crops at risk.

These issues, combined with wildfire-related power shutoffs, have led multiple California food growers and producers to turn to microgrids and distributed energy resources. Bluehouse Greenhouse and Taylor Farms are two examples. Like the Amond World facility, both have chosen off-grid microgrids. Such complete withdrawal from the grid is unusual – but growing – in the US where most microgrids are connected to the grid.

Watch Microgrids for Agriculture and the Food Industry

The Amond World microgrid is pursuing cheaper, cleaner and more reliable power to support the facility’s two 250,000 square foot cold storage buildings.

The microgrid will include a 1,200-kW rooftop solar array, a 1,200 kW/2,400 kWh battery storage system and 1,200-kW enhanced emission-reducing controllable generators.

Supporting farmers and protecting harvests

The facility will offer both long- and short-term storage solutions, with each building able to store 50 million pounds of almonds or other recently harvested crops.

“The sheer number of pounds of valuable inventory in this facility makes it absolutely impossible to have anything less than 100% continuous, reliable power,” said Ryan Goodman, CEO and co-founder of Scale Microgrid.

Scale Microgrid will finance and operate the microgrid, which is designed to run on only solar and storage for part of the day. 

Origo and Amond World said they are partnering with Scale to support local farmers and processors. Hayner said the facility and the microgrid will allow farmers to “more efficiently manage the sale of their crops over longer periods and ultimately to deliver higher profitability.”

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About the Author

Kathy Hitchens | Special Projects Editor

I work as a writer and special projects editor for Microgrid Knowledge. I have over 30 years of writing experience, working with a variety of companies in the renewable energy, electric vehicle and utility sector, as well as those in the entertainment, education, and financial industries. I have a BFA in Media Arts from the University of Arizona and a MBA from the University of Denver.

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