Growers and irrigation districts are in various stages of adopting automation for their pumps to reap the benefits of greater precision, reduced labor requirements and monitoring to improve operations and comply with regulations, like SGMA. At the same time, California’s electrical grid sees the timing of energy usage–both on a regular basis and during grid emergencies like we saw this summer–as a tool to make the grid more reliable, lower the cost of electricity, and increase the share of renewable energy in the state’s power mix.
These trends come together profitably with strong incentives from electric utility PG&E. There are three ways that growers and irrigation districts can take advantage of them:
- AutoDR (automated demand response): up-front incentives pay to automate pumps that are then available for occasional schedule changes when called upon by the grid. The average incentive for automation projects over the last five years is more than $150,000. This money can be used to install Polaris’ Pump Automation System (PAS), or other automation systems offered by Cal-West Rain, that receive signals from the grid via Polaris’ cloud platform as well as sensors and controls. To qualify for these incentives, growers agree to participate in a Demand Response program.
- Demand Response: with or without AutoDR, lucrative incentives are available to be on standby for occasional schedule changes when called upon by the grid. There are a number of programs and options available and Polaris manages participation to maximize revenue with as little effort and inconvenience as possible.
- Time-of-Use: PG&E is implementing new electricity tariffs that encourage agricultural customers to avoid operating pumps between 5 – 8 p.m. The Polaris Pump Automation System (PAS) enables users to operate pumps remotely in an app or by implementing schedules. The app helps users evaluate and schedule operations by providing visibility into energy costs for planned operations and offering recommendations based on user input.
Demand Response has been offered in California for more than 20 years and has earned a mixed reputation. With changes to the programs and strategies developed by Polaris, most ag operations can benefit with little risk. A quick analysis will provide an estimate of the available incentives.
Contact Cal-West Rain or Polaris Energy Services to learn more about what incentives might make sense for your operation, or use the Polaris Incentive Calculator to get started with some incentive estimates.
Polaris Energy Services is the leader in connecting agricultural energy users with energy incentive and revenue opportunities. The company provides monitoring and control solutions for participation in Demand Response programs and everyday operations.