Freight Farms announced today it has partnered with clean energy service Arcadia to offer growers a way to connect their farms to cleaner sources of energy. The new program, available to all Freight Farms customers in the U.S., will let growers synch their utility to one of Arcadia’s wind or solar farms, according to a press release sent to The Spoon. Arcadia will then match 100 percent of the farm’s electrical consumption with solar and wind energy.
Freight Farms helped to popularize the concept of turning old shipping containers into vertical farms that grow produce like leafy greens, herbs, and tomatoes. The farms, of course, require electricity to function, since most controlled-environment farms rely on LEDs as their plants’ light source and need additional energy for temperature control and dehumidifying. There isn’t a lot of public data yet on how much power these farms use, which in turn has led to a lot of questions in the last couple years around how energy efficient they actually are.
While they’re not giving away any hard numbers on energy consumption, Freight Farms and Arcadia claim their new partnership can connect growers to cleaner forms of energy, including wind and solar, and potentially reduce their energy costs. The program builds on Arcadia’s existing subscription model, where users pay a flat monthly fee to connect their utility to Arcadia’s clean energy sources.
Once a Freight Farm is connected, Arcadia will match 100 percent of its electricity generated by purchasing the equivalent amount of wind and solar energy in the form of Renewable Energy Certificates. Growers may, based on their location in the U.S., also be able to cut down on energy costs.
There are two options for membership, based on a farm’s location. Growers located in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Illinois, Colorado, Maryland, and Maine can sign up and access the community solar power market. Those in other states sign up for $5/month to access cleaner energy, according to today’s press release.
Arcadia’s systems automate everything, so signing up for the program doesn’t require any extra steps on the part of the grower.
Since the program is brand new, it’s difficult to say exactly how much energy is saved through it or what the actual cost savings for individual farmers are. Freight Farms said today only that the program “reduces Freight Farmers’ carbon footprint to one-quarter of industrial farming operations.”