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.
Farm equipment electrification can not only provide dramatic savings for growers but enable them to take control of their energy. For the grid, agriculture is one sector in California with the electrical infrastructure already in place to support rapid EV adoption. With the backing of the CEC, this project will support building, deploying and testing the technologies required to take advantage of that opportunity.—David Meyers, CEO of Gridtractor
Monarch Tractor’s MK-V tractor combines electrification, automation, machine learning, and data analysis to enhance farmer’s existing operations, increase labor productivity and safety, and maximize yields to cut overhead costs and emissions.