Visalia resident and Kings County pistachio farmer Chuck Nichols has made electrical history by opening up North America’s first high-efficiency solar-power facility at Nichols Farms in nearby Hanford.

“I appreciate harnessing natural resources in an efficient, sustainable manner,” Nichols said Friday.

Jeff Brothers of Sol Orchard, coordinator for the project, said that $1 million of the 119-panel, $4 million project’s costs came from a rebate from the California Solar Initiative.

“It will probably take seven years’ time for the solar panels to generate enough solar-power-generated electricity to pay the project’s costs,” Brothers said. After that, Nichols will be saving a full 70 percent on all his farm’s electricity needs.

The other 30 percent must be acquired from traditional utilities, Brothers said — a percentage set under state guidelines so that Nichols could get the $1 million rebate.

source: visaliatimesdelta