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Posts by Tom Millhoff

Farm Bill provides $881 million for on-farm energy

The House passed The Farm Bill on Wednesday:  it includes $881 million in funding to energy title programs including the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) program, which provides loan guarantees and grants for energy efficiency improvements, solar panels, anaerobic digesters, other forms of renewable generation.  Title IX specifies that $45 million be allocated annually to the…

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Departing CPUC Commissioner advocates for Solar and Net Metering

Mark J. Ferron announced that he will be stepping down from his role as a Commissioner at the California CPUC for personal health reasons.   His thoughtful and candid final statement is worthy reading for those concerned with California’s energy future.   I’ve extracted below the two excerpts best related to this blog, Solar and Net Metering: Support…

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Western Farm Press

Energy costs in California are rising and volatile, but growers, food processors and other agribusinesses are increasingly combining solar with other energy services and smart policy management to create wealth and reduce dependence on traditional utility power. In his recent presentation at the national Agronomics Vision 2014 conference, HelioPower’s Tom Millhoff profiled how California’s energy landscape…

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PG&E Economic Development Rate for California Businesses

Are PG&E rates putting your business at a competitive disadvantage? If so there’s a good chance you may find relief in a new program intended to attract and retain jobs.  In the coming months PG&E is expected to implement an “Economic Development Rate” (EDR), which will offer targeted rate reductions of 12% – 30%. SUBSTANTIAL…

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Diesel-Electric-Solar Conversion for California Irrigation

20 years ago groundwater was plentiful, diesel was $1/gallon, and nox simply meant “night” in Latin. Flash forward to 2013:  water tables are plummeting; diesel has inflated to $4/gal, and the California Air Resources Board is mandating continually lower NOx emissions.  No wonder growers are toggling between diesel and electric, or moving away from diesel…

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How Growers, Packers and Shippers can Reduce Energy Rates

“Rate sharks” are firms that will negotiate lower energy rates on your behalf in exchange for a share in the resulting savings: typically 50%.  But you shouldn’t need to pay a third party to get the best price you can for energy…   your utility is obligated to work with you to find the best…

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Visualizing Your Agricultural Energy Profile with Excel

Utility bills are often one of the top two or three expenses for California’s agricultural operations. Here is one quick and dirty visualization tool to help you understand your load profiles and get your next energy decision right within minutes. Why does this matter and How is this useful? Why does this matter? Because utility…

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A Roadmap for Sustainability among Food and Beverage Producers

California’s food processing directors and executives face sustainability challenges including climate change, water scarcity, supply chain management and increasing regulation.  In their Roadmap for Sustainability the respected nonprofit Ceres provides a comprehensive and useful guidebook to implementing sustainability practices that can help the agriculture and food processing industries manage sustainability. The implications for food processing…

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Expanded Virtual Net Energy Metering is coming: benefits for businesses with multiple meters

Many energy consumers understand that under net energy metering policies they can use the utility’s grid like a battery, generating a retail bill credit for excess electricity they generate using solar or other qualified distributed energy generation sources. Going Virtual Recently some sectors have been allowed to take advantage of “Virtual Net Metering” (VNM) policy, which allows…

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Energy Analytics

Use Energy Analytics to reduce utility bills

Energy may be one of your businesses largest expenses, but it is an expense you can manage.   We encourage our clients to think of energy as a variable cost of goods sold rather than a fixed expense: your goal must be to reduce the energy cost of a unit of production.  You can achieve…

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