Gridley solar heating system state’s largest

Stapleton-Spence Packing Co. earns $467,000 PG&E rebate

A fruit-processing plant in Gridley earned a $467,000 California Solar Initiative rebate from the Pacific Gas and Electric Co. for installing the state’s largest solar water-heating system.

The system, which the Stapleton-Spence Packing Co. unveiled to the public on March 1, includes 20,000 square feet of solar panels and a 13,000-gallon water-storage tank, according to a press release. Well water is preheated via a control system and polymer piping before it enters two 600-horsepower boilers that produce steam to rehydrate dried fruit. The solar-panel system will save 37,584 therms of natural gas annually, saving the company $20,000 in heating bills.

“Their decision to invest in this technology will result in substantial savings on their energy bill and support PG&E and the state’s efforts to offer more clean energy solutions to our customers,” said Nick Stimmel, a senior manager for PG&E’s solar-thermal program.