Cancel OK

Alternative Energy

Blazing a trail for a more sustainable, efficient industry

And while every alternative energy solution comes with the need for due diligence, in the long haul these companies are hoping to prove that the upfront investment makes businessas well as environmental sense.  The advantage, Mandel points out, is to “maximize the benefit to the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit.”

Being ‘Green’ and Making Green: Incentives for Eco-Friendly Solutions 

The United States, as well as Canada and Mexico, offer a variety of grants, assistance, and rebates through various agencies as incentives for alternative energy solutions.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has several programs for produce industry professionals to help offset costs and assist with technical knowledge.  One of these is the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which provides loans and grants for the installation of renewable energy projects and to make energy-efficient improvements.  There is also the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), part of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, which offers technical and financial assistance to landowners interested in reducing their energy consumption for agricultural practices.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Energy offers funding through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) for renewable energy projects.  John Burton, general manager of Peter Rabbit Farms in Coachella Valley, CA noted that although the grower-shipper would still have installed solar panels without government rebates, their availability did serve as “a big incentive to get started.”

Rebates and various offers can also be found through local power companies and vary greatly by state.  Many opportunities, unique to particular regions, can be researched through the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) at

Canada and Mexico also have educational and financial resources for implementing alternative energy projects.  Natural Resources Canada’s ecoENERGY initiatives offer tools to improve energy performance and expedite green investments.  The program’s website ( allows users to search for financial assistance by province, while Environment Canada also provides funding for projects.

With the enactment of the Renewable Energy Development and Financing for Energy Transition Law (LAERFTE) in Mexico in 2008, government-supported financing for green initiatives has become available. The National Fund for Energy Transition and Sustainable Exploitation of Energy offer support options, while an incentive developed by the Mexican government, World Bank, and the Global Environment Facility will help make up the difference in cost when converting to renewable sources.

Courtney Kilian is based in Vista, CA and has worked with domestic and international growers. She has also worked in public relations for the Natural Resources Conservation Service and California Avocados Direct.