Leichtag Foundation in Encinitas goes all in on solar energy


The Leichtag Foundation is growing food and harvesting sunshine.

The Leichtag Foundation property in Encinitas has installed a solar photovoltaic system to provide 100 percent of the energy required for the operations of Leichtag Foundation and its developing farm.

“Energy, how we make it and how we use it, is changing,” said Jim Farley, president and CEO of Leichtag Foundation. “We understand the inseparable linkages between land, water, energy, and healthy nutritious food.”

The solar PV system was installed by Stellar Solar, one of the area’s most experienced solar installation companies, based in Carlsbad.

“It’s a privilege to be partnering on this project with Leichtag Foundation, which is gaining a reputation as one of the region’s most progressive energy innovators for agriculture,” said Kent Harle, Stellar Solar founding partner and president.

This is the first solar PV project in San Diego County to aggregate several meters for an agricultural use under a new ruling by the California Public Utilities Commission.

This is also the first solar PV project in Encinitas to include free electric vehicle workplace charging for employees and guests, too.

Three electric vehicle chargers will be installed and three more can be installed at a later date. Employees and guests will be able to charge their electric cars for free, thus encouraging the transition to lower or zero-emission transportation choices.

This project was led by Peder Norby, consultant to Leichtag Foundation on matters of energy and water, and its vineyard. Norby is also on the San Diego County Planning Commission and consultant to the city of Carlsbad.

According to the City of Encinitas Climate Action Plan, 70 percent of Encinitas emissions are from transportation choices, 15 percent from residential and 11 percent from commercial and industrial. With the transition to solar, Leichtag Foundation will have emissions reduction of 48,000 pounds of CO2 annually (not including emission reductions from vehicles).

In addition, solar PV will provide significant economic savings of more than $500,000 during the system’s lifetime.

One of the Leichtag Foundation’s strategic areas is building connections between San Diego and Israel through engagement, relationship building, and interest alignment. Israeli technologies are leading efforts around water and energy: IDE Technologies, an Israeli state-owned enterprise creating advanced desalination technologies is the subcontractor for the Carlsbad Desalination plant.

The Leichtag Foundation Solar PV project uses SolarEdge, an Israeli-led company that makes the inverters and optimizers used in this project.

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