Bishop’s Orchards, a Guilford, CT family-owned and operated farm since 1871, completed a 120 kW rooftop solar installation in August 2017 atop their landmark Farm Market, with a 357 kW ground mounted array in an adjacent field that will go online by the end of 2017.
As an environmentally-conscious company committed to gaining energy independence, Bishop’s Orchards selected Independence Solar – one of the most established and trusted solar teams on the East Coast – for their 120 kW rooftop project as well as an additional installation of a 357 kW ground-mounted solar system. Installation of the panels was performed by the Pat Munger Construction Company, a leading full-service construction company based in Branford serving Southern CT. The ground and roof panels will provide 80% of Bishop’s annual energy consumption, including their farm refrigeration needs and Farm Market, which will prevent 12,000 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere over the life of the projects.
“As longtime stewards of the environment and healthy eating for the community, this is a proud moment in our family business history to reduce energy costs and lower our carbon footprint,” said Keith Bishop, Co-CEO at Bishop’s Orchards. “With a partner like Independence Solar leading the way, we’ve already seen significant benefits from the rooftop system, and are excited that the ground-mounted installation will produce over 600,000 kWh annually to push us further toward energy independence.”
An allocation from the Virtual Net Metering (VNM) program established by the CT Legislature and administered by the CT Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) enabled Bishop’s to produce power on 1.1 acres of farm property that has laid fallow and is unusable for crops due to shallow soils, hillside and rock ledge. Bishop added “with the finite cropland we own, we did not want to convert usable farmland into energy production, so we challenged Independence Solar in 2016 to use this property and assist in sustaining our family business as stewards for another generation by adding a ‘hillside solar farm’.” A portion of the array is visible from the Farm Market on the opposite side of US Rt 1.
James Schwartz, Vice President at Independence Solar, remarked, “We’re thrilled that Bishop’s Orchards turned to Independence Solar as their turnkey solar provider. Their commitment to both the environment and lowering operating costs made solar a smart investment for their company, and we look forward to partnering with them to achieve their cost saving and sustainability goals.”
About Bishops Orchards – www.bishopsorchards.com
The Bishop families have their roots in Guilford since the founding of the town when John Bishop was one of the signers of the Guilford Covenant in 1639. One of the few commercial local farms that remains of Guilford’s agricultural heritage, Bishop’s Orchards continues a tradition that dates back over 146 years to the original 52-acre farm that Walter G Bishop purchased in 1871. As each generation has built on the successes of our forebears, the farm has continued to change and grow.
Innovation and adaptation to changing conditions and markets have been one of our hallmarks. Throughout our evolution from a small general farm peddling ice, milk, fruits and vegetables door-to-door to the residents of the shoreline communities to a wholesale grower of fruits and vegetables supplying the produce markets of New York and New England, we are now a thriving retail farm market open year round with a Winery, Kit, Pick Your Own Fruits and a CSA. Our goal has remained the same through all the years… to provide our customers with the freshest, best-quality farm products possible, grown with integrity and concern for our environment. Our families continue to grow and faces of the seventh generation can now be seen “helping” and learning with their parents and grandparents. Generation 6 members Sarah Bishop Dellaventura and Carrie Bishop Healy are working full time alongside their father Keith and his cousin, Jonathan Bisho.
About Independence Solar – www.independencesolar.com
Independence Solar is a turnkey installer of commercial solar energy. Since 2007, the team has developed and built over $200 million of solar projects, including the largest rooftop solar array (9 MW) in North America at the Gloucester Marine Terminal in New Jersey. Independence Solar handles the entire project life cycle for our clients. From development, design and financing, through construction and ongoing maintenance, Independence Solar delivers an environmentally responsible income-generating asset, not just a construction project.
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