Acclaimed West Marin Oyster Company Sees the Light
Novato and Sonoma based SolarCraft recently completed the installation of a 90 kW DC solar installation at the very popular Hog Island Oyster Company on scenic Tamales Bay in Marshall, CA. The West Marin County oyster farm now powers over 85% of its operations and retail oyster bar with clean, renewable energy, saving thousands in energy costs every year.
Not only does solar help the climate, but the oysters themselves, as well as other shellfish, by reducing the amount of C02 that is absorbed by the ocean. Increased C02 in the water causes acidification, decreasing oysters’ ability to make their shells.
“Our industry depends on water quality,” said Terry Sawyer, Hog Island Oyster Company Co-founder. “We are on the front line of oceanic changes due to C02 absorption from fossil fuels, which directly affect an oyster’s ability to form a shell. We have urged others to find alternative forms of energy and we are walking the walk.” Sawyer continues, “Our site had several challenges including the corrosive environment of the salt water and several historic, aging buildings. We have high electrical loads at our facility and we wanted to offset that usage, but it had to make financial sense. SolarCraft is very experienced and knowledgeable; they presented us with several scenarios that met those challenges. Their Operations team was very professional & easy to work with.”
Designed and installed by SolarCraft, the solar photovoltaic system is mounted on multiple roof tops and engineered to solve the difficult challenges presented by the coastal location such as high winds and salt mist corrosion. The solar photovoltaic system consists of 260 rugged, high-efficiency SunPower 345-watt solar panels. The complex design makes the most of Solar Edge inverters which maximize energy harvest from the system overall, using optimizers that manage the output of each module. Furthermore, the power optimizers monitor the performance of each module and communicate performance data to a monitoring portal.
During the life of the system over 2,570 tons of carbon dioxide will be eliminated from the Hog Island’s carbon footprint, which is the equivalent of removing 8.4 million miles of driving over the next 25 years. That’s also comparable to the air pollution removed by 44 acres of trees.
About Hog Island Oyster Company
Started in 1983 with a five-acre shellfish lease and partners John Finger and Terry Sawyer at the helm, Hog Island Oyster Co. has grown to become one of the premiere producers of certified sustainable shellfish. With 160 acres in Tomales Bay plus a seed and hatchery operation in Humbolt Bay, Hog Island harvests and sells over 3.5 million oysters, Manila clams and mussels each year. Over 200 employees cultivate, shuck and serve an exceptional oyster experience at Hog Island locations in Marshall, Napa and San Francisco.
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