Energy is a critical component of our operations. In 2010, we invested in a 1-megawatt solar array that is comprised of almost 5,500 panels spanning across 6 acres. In 2017, we expanded our solar installation and today, it produces enough electricity to offset 90% of our annual consumption. California has some of the strictest air quality regulations in the world. Our on-site power production reduces greenhouse gas emissions from coal and other combustible energy sources and in addition, Mother Nature coverts carbon dioxide into oxygen through the Almond trees themselves. These initiatives along with others, are part of our overall dedication to be carbon-neutral and improve our sustainability.
Honeybees play a critical role in farm production, and we work closely with the best beekeepers year after year to maximize pollination, as well as help preserve and grow the honeybee population. For Almonds, the "bloom" is where the growing season begins. Each bloom must be pollinated to produce an almond. Our beekeepers deliver active and healthy honeybees directly into our orchards. We coordinate our operations around protecting them, ensuring they are safe and well-cared-for. It takes approximately two hives, with 11,000 to 14,000 bees in each, to pollinate an acre of Almond trees. Bees arrive in early spring and are most productive on cool, non-windy days. When the petals on the almond blooms are mostly dropped, they move on to their next assignment.
As California Farmers, we must be extremely careful with our natural resources, especially water. We have invested in technology to maximize our efficiency and improve our water resource management. We use digital monitoring along with innovated irrigation equipment to deliver the exact amount of water to each tree, based on growing season, weather and related conditions. By maximizing our water use efficiency, we are better able to forecast our water demand, secure adequate water supply for today and the future, and plan our operations accordingly.
Over 130 tons of cardboard have been recycled, over 130 tons of plastic have been recycled and over 44 tons of metal have been recycled
Part of our sustainability initiative is to be good stewards of our resources. Our production process uses cardboard and plastic. Additionally, as machinery is retired and new technology is brought online, the scrap metal is collected and sorted. These items would add significant tonnage to local landfills. To prevent this, we have a robust recycling program that includes plastics, cardboard and metal.
We also recycle the dirt which is used by local landfills as alternative daily cover and in reclamation projects where fill is needed, mitigating the need for grading and excavation. The organic matter we collect is recycled as livestock bedding and biomass fuel. As part of our efforts to discover and explore new alternative uses for almond co-products, organic matter, as well as hull and shell, is a leading component of Parreira research projects.