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Sustainability

Solar panel array at Carter Mountain
Each year, Carter Mountain Orchard’s solar array produces enough clean energy to make 10,369,920 fresh cider donuts.

Stewards of Tomorrow

Everything we do at the orchards is dependent on Mother Nature. As a 5-generation farming family, we have always been thankful for what nature provides. We are proud to be stewards of tomorrow.

That’s why we’ve gone solar! Tucked near the tree lines of Carter Mountain Orchard, on the rooftop of Chiles Peach Orchard’s Farm Market, and at the production facility in Covesville are vast solar arrays providing clean, renewable power for orchard operations.

Why Solar?

The Chiles family has been farming in Albemarle County for over 100 years. We have a heritage to honor and a responsibility to the land. To continue to grow and prosper, we must remember our roots while embracing change and looking to the future.

Next time you visit the Mountain Grill at Carter Mountain Orchard, glance up at the solar panels on the roof and enjoy a homemade cider donut knowing that our kitchens are “powered by the sun”!

“When everything we do relies on the sun, relies on taking care of the land, it seems second nature to go solar.”

Henry Chiles, 5th Generation

Energy Use

There’s a lot going on behind the scenes at the orchards, especially when it comes to production. Our fresh fruit and veggies are grown across 1,500 acres at 9 properties throughout Albemarle County and the surrounding area. From our cold storage, packing house, kitchens, and retail locations, to tractors and other orchard equipment, running orchards requires a great deal of energy.

“We are responsible for a lot of land in this area, which we are very fortunate to have. [Lessening our carbon footprint just seemed like the right thing to do.]”

Cynthia Chiles, 4th Generation

Solar power production lowers our environmental footprint and increases our sustainability for years to come. The orchards now boast a combined 2,823 solar panels producing nearly a megawatt of power and providing clean energy for the next 30-plus years.

How Does Solar Work?

In 2018, we partnered with Charlottesville-based Sigora Solar to install our solar array, which includes 559 solar panels at Carter Mountain Orchard and 224 at Chiles Peach Orchard. Together, the solar power installation produces enough clean energy to save hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.

Solar panels capture the sun’s clean energy and send Alternating Current (AC) electricity to inverters. The inverters convert that solar electricity into Direct Current (DC) electricity we can use to power our equipment. In one year, the solar array at Chiles Peach Orchard produces enough clean energy to make 3,048,000 scoops of peach ice cream!

Graphic demonstrating how Chiles Family Orchards captures solar energy for green power.
Click to view larger
Chiles Family Orchards can produce 3,048,000 scoops of ice cream with clean energy.

Other Sustainability Efforts

We continually strive to maximize our future sustainability. Going green is not just a farming trend—it’s our whole way of life! We are proud to be responsible stewards of tomorrow.

“What [my grandparents] wanted is what we still want today: to provide the best fruit possible for our customers and to continue to do that for hopefully the next 107 years and on. Because Crown Orchard is here to stay.”

Sarah Chiles, 4th Generation