Solar Powered Almond Processing No Nutty Idea

The California Raisins might be more famous, but California almonds are just as popular, and whether you like them sliced, slivered, diced or milled, it takes energy to blanch, dry and cut those nuts. Which is why we’re happy to hear that Hughson Nut has teamed up with Cenergy Solar to crack open the power of the sun at its 50,000-square-foot almond processing facility in the Central Valley town of Hughson.

Hughson Nut—a top almond processor for the confectionary, bakery, cereal, health and snack food industries—recently flipped the switch on a roof-mounted, 586-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system expected to produce over 970,000 kilowatt-hours of solar power for its processing facility on an annual basis. That’s the equivalent of removing around 730 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, or planting 140 acres of pine forest.  The renewable energy system will help to power the facility’s blanching, dry roasting and cutting lines for sliced, slivered, diced and milled almonds.

Hughson Nut _ Cenergy Solar

image via Cenergy Power

We’ve seen a number of such green projects over the past few years, from solar-powered pretzels in Pennsylvania to LEED Platinum digs for General Mills’ cereal researchers in Switzerland (and even a LEED Platinum food distribution warehouse in Chicago that features both solar and wind power). And while the trend with food facilities making use of renewable energy and green building facilities still has a long way to go in cutting the carbon footprint associated with what’s sitting on the grocery shelf, projects such as this are leading the way in that direction.

As part of the solar arrangement, Cenergy Power will operate and maintain Hughson Nut’s solar power system for 10 years, including but not limited to, touch-free panel cleanings, preventive maintenance and repair and overall system warranties.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

1 Comment

  • Reply April 18, 2012


    I love stories like this.

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