Commercial Business Solar Electric Installation Project Profile
Hog Island Oyster Company, on scenic Tamales Bay in Marshall, CA, takes a strong stance on environmental responsibility. The decision to install a 90 kW solar energy system at its acclaimed West Marin Oyster Farm helps fulfill part of their larger sustainability strategy to minimize environmental impacts.
Hog Island 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 oysters and other shellfish, by reducing the amount of C02 in the ocean. Increased C02 in the water causes acidification, decreasing oysters’ ability to make their shells.
Designed and installed by SolarCraft, the solar photovoltaic system is mounted on multiple roofs and engineered to solve the coastal location’s challenges of high winds and salt mist corrosion. The system consists of 260 rugged, high-efficiency SunPower 345-watt solar panels. Solar Edge inverters maximize energy harvest from the system overall, using optimizers that manage the output of each module. Furthermore, the optimizers monitor the performance of each module and communicates 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, 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.
John Finger and Terry Sawyer started Hog Island Oyster Co. in 1983 with a five-acre shellfish lease, growing it to become one of the premiere producers of certified sustainable shellfish. With 160 acres in Tomales Bay plus a seed and hatchery operation in Humboldt Bay, Hog Island harvests and sells over 3.5 million oysters, Manila clams and mussels each year.
“Our industry depends on water quality. We’re on the front line of oceanic changes due to C02 absorption, which directly affects an oyster’s ability to form a shell. We’ve urged others to use alternative energy and we’re walking the walk. Our site has challenges including corrosive salt water and historic, aging buildings. We wanted to offset our facility’s high electrical loads, 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 and easy to work with.”
~Terry Sawyer, Co-founder, Hog Island Oyster Company
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