Gridtractor launches infrastructure tool for zero-emission farming, electric tractors

A new zero-emission agricultural subsidiary Gridtractor officially launched today as a tool to develop, implement, and maintain fleet electrification services for farms utilizing electric tractors and heavy farming equipment. Gridtractor looks to help farmers integrate electric charging and vehicle to grid (V2G) technology into their agricultural operations, to help strengthen their local power grid while simultaneously saving significant on the cost of fuel.

Gridtractor is a nascent turnkey service built around charging infrastructure solutions for zero-emission farming. The company recently launched in the US as a partially-owned subsidiary of Polaris Energy Services, which contributed the company’s seed financing.

Polaris is an agricultural tech company that manages a network of over 500 irrigation and water conveyance pumps, specializing in connecting its customers with energy market incentives and saving in operational costs by automating irrigation control.

To expand, Gridtractor has been launched to leverage existing electrical services on farms with new charging and monitoring technology. The service technology can manage electric tractor operations, produce automated reports, and alert Gridtractor operators when something is not working correctly.

In addition to its Software as a service (SaaS) model, Gridtractor is developing control hardware that will help farmers expand sustainable zero-emission farming with holistic management of electric tractors, pumps, and solar arrays.

This operation begins, where else, but in California. Here’s how it works:

Gridtractor launches in CA to support zero-emission farming

In a press release today, Gridtractor announced its official fleet electrification services launch, beginning in California with its first customer, Terranova Ranch.

The ranch will utilize the new company’s Gridtractor Planning Model (SaaS) to determine the best deployments for electric tractors. It will also navigate the most efficient integration with existing electrical infrastructure at dozens of irrigation pumps and solar arrays on site.

Don Cameron, vice president and general manager of Terranova Ranch, spoke about working with new zero-emissions farming technology supported by Gridtractor:

Working alongside Gridtractor towards a better environment is a win-win for both our customers and California’s agricultural industry, which produces at least one-third of the country’s vegetables and two-thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts. For over forty years, our team has paid special attention to sustainability and keeping our soil, water, and air quality as healthy as possible, which is critical to ensuring long-term crop viability and employee wellness. We are taking this one step further with our partnership with Gridtractor to reduce emissions and transform energy use at our ranch.

According to Gridtractor, electrifying a single medium-sized tractor in California can reduce carbon emissions by an equivalent of replacing 45 cars with BEVs. Offering a turn-key service solution, Gridtractor plans to provide farmers with site and project managers to assist with the implementation of this new technology.

Furthermore, these managers will act as liaisons between agricultural customers and their utility companies to ensure the technology is deployed and operating efficiently.

More importantly perhaps, states like California offer local and regional incentives, opening the door for welcomed funding opportunities to help offset electrification costs. Gridtractor CEO David Meyers spoke on this potential, and what Gridtractor hopes to offer farmers in terms of not only savings, but also profits from energy sales:

While observing the rapid acceleration in EV adoption, especially in the heavy-duty sector, we realized that agriculture is an underserved industry in electrification. And considering the emissions generated by one tractor, we believe it is critical to help farmers adopt this technology faster and more seamlessly. The longest pole in the tent for transportation electrification is building out the infrastructure to support a massive increase in demand on the grid, and with the vehicle-to-grid component of our solution, we can essentially turn an electric tractor into a giant battery. We estimate that on top of the field savings, farmers can save 15 percent for smart charging and Vehicle-to-Load/Vehicle-to-Grid applications, for a total of 90% cost savings that will be supplemented by lower maintenance and repair costs.

Terranova Ranch now sits as the test bed for Gridtractor’s infrastructural servicing. If the model is proven effective, the new company will expand in California and beyond, to help bring zero-emission farming and strengthened electric grid capabilities to the entire industry.

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Scooter Doll is a writer, designer and tech enthusiast born in Chicago and based on the West Coast. When he’s not offering the latest tech how tos or insights, he’s probably watching Chicago sports.
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