EV Charging in California’s Agricultural Heartland



Photo Credit: Gabriela Ornelas, Jackie Madrigal

Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, a pistachio grower and processor in Tulare County, understands the importance of technological development in producing high-quality products. During its nearly 40 years in operation, the family-owned business has grown to become the nation’s second-largest producer of pistachios, by implementing innovative practices in its state-of-the-art processing facilities.

That commitment to continuous improvement extends beyond growing and delivering the tasty tree nut to consumers. It’s placing Setton Pistachio at the forefront of the clean energy transition in the San Joaquin Valley’s agriculture industry.

“We’re trying to get ahead of the curve as California moves in the direction of clean energy,” said Fernando Rios, regulatory and compliance coordinator at Setton Pistachio. “We encourage any business to apply for programs that help install clean energy infrastructure.”

An EV charger plugged into a black sedan.
The 10 recently installed and energized charging stations are not only the latest installment in Setton Pistachio’s commitment to sustainability, but also represent a step toward long-term electrification in the San Joaquin Valley. PHOTO CREDIT: Gabriela Ornelas

To encourage employees to reduce their carbon footprint, Setton wanted to expand the number of charging stations available at its office headquarters. The company had to look no further than Southern California Edison’s Charge Ready programs, which help businesses deploy electric vehicle charging equipment to meet the infrastructure needs at its location.

“It was a very simple process. We had a pre-construction meeting with SCE where the team briefed us on the next steps in the project, and they took care of everything from there,” said Rios.

Taking care of everything involves many steps, from project conception to energization. The SCE team begins by developing a custom analysis to identify the Charge Ready option that will help accomplish the customer’s clean energy charging goals. For Setton, that was the Charging Infrastructure and Rebate Program, which installs infrastructure on both sides of the meter and provides some of the largest rebates available to help businesses purchase and install charging equipment. With the rebates, participating businesses can operate their own affordable EV infrastructure for the next decade and beyond.

“We ensured this project was cost effective for Setton,” said Dustin Underwood, SCE’s Charge Ready program manager. “Our engineering firm provided renderings of the completed project, we submitted the required construction permits and completed the necessary utility work and upgrades on the customer’s side. This service is what we call a ‘make ready’ position, which means all Setton had to do was plug in the chargers for energization after they were installed.”

A pistachio nut tree with budding branches.
Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, the nation’s second-largest producer of pistachios, is at the forefront of the clean energy transition in the San Joaquin Valley’s agriculture industry. PHOTO CREDIT: Jackie Madrigal

Following the construction period and winter harvest season, the 10 new charging stations were energized in January. The new technology is not only the latest installment in Setton’s commitment to sustainability but also represents a step toward long-term electrification in the San Joaquin Valley.

“This was a unique project with Setton Pistachio, and we encourage local businesses to pursue similar opportunities,” said Underwood. “Our Charge Ready programs are a great way to offset costs and introduce business owners into the EV space.”

With employees already using the new charging stations, Setton hopes the EV charging infrastructure and prime parking spaces will attract a new workforce eager to contribute to its clean energy goals.

“These charging stations are free of charge to all Setton employees, and we hope they provide an incentive for additional talented professionals in surrounding cities to join our company,” said Rios.

To learn more about the Charge Ready program, click here.


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