State University of New York gets OptoGreen grant

Feb. 21, 2008

Temecula, Calif. - February 20 - Opto 22, a developer and manufacturer of hardware and software for industrial automation, remote monitoring, and data acquisition projects, has awarded an "OptoGreen Grant" to the State University of New York's  New Paltz School of Science and Engineering to fund its projects with The Solar Energy Consortium (TSEC), which call for  "The Greening of New York State Farms."

Professor Michael Otis of SUNY New Paltz's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) and  a team of his students are collaborating with TSEC, a group of private and public institutions focused on researching and developing new ways to deliver solar energy, to initiate pilot projects at Wright's Apple Farm in Gardiner, N.Y., and Davenport's Farm in Stone Ridge, N.Y.  

"Farming in the state of New York has sharply decreased over the last few decades, largely due to the high cost of energy," says Otis. "Integrating alternative forms of energy and automating and improving farming processes can help provide a completely sustainable energy solution and reduce these high energy costs.  This Opto 22 grant of complimentary hardware and software will be used in pilot programs at an apple farm and a vineyard to reduce their excessive energy consumption, thereby paving the way for renewable energy alternatives that will include solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind for electricity, solar thermal for hot water and heating and geothermal (ground-source heat) for refrigeration and HVAC."

Specifically, Opto 22 SNAP PAC systems will optimize packing processes as well as the chilling and humidification processes of cold storage coolers to reduce peak demand.  Additionally, the open-loop control method used by the defrost mechanisms for these coolers (which currently rely on a timer) will  be replaced by the SNAP PAC's  closed-loop (sensor-based) system. Finally, the SNAP PAC system will be used to monitor and acquire data from the farms' newly installed solar PV and geothermal systems.

"We anticipate these pilot programs will set the standard for future renewable energy projects throughout New York State," states Otis. "The OptoGreen Grant will further our mission of developing efficient solar energy systems, reducing the cost of these systems and simplifying their installation, thus promoting their widespread use."