Monarch Tractor, maker of a fully electric autonomous tractor, and its Farm Electrification Consortium partners have received a $3 million grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to accelerate electrification of agricultural equipment and demonstrate the ability of batteries in on-farm equipment to keep critical electrical loads running during power outages that are initiated with greater frequency due to wildfires.
The consortium comprises Monarch Tractor, Gridtractor, Rhombus Energy Solutions, Current Ways, and Polaris Energy Services.
In addition to emergency scenarios, the consortium will develop and demonstrate technology to enable farmers to employ tractors to respond to conditions on the power grid by charging and discharging batteries to supply irrigation pumps and other on-farm loads in response to dynamic prices and demand response events.
The consortium will develop hardware, software and communications technologies to link tractors and charging equipment to fleet operation centers and grid management systems.
"With grid shutdowns, hardworking farmers lose significant time, resources and money in a business where America’s growers already struggle to see the profits of their hard labor," says Praveen Penmetsa, CEO and co-founder of Monarch Tractor. "Our tractor's ability to provide exportable power and act as a mobile generator will help keep the lights on for California’s farms even when the grid is down."