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Rice mill plugs in one megawatt of solar power

Large solar arrays for business, and now agribusiness, are driving most of the growth in the solar electric industry.

Far West Rice Mills in Nelson, Calif., on Wednesday dedicated a one megawatt solar array that will provide three-fourths of its electricity.

The array is made up of 5,500 solar panels from Mitsubishi Electric & Electronics and was installed by Pacific Power Management.

The one megawatt array at Far West Rice Mills Mitsubishi Electric & Electronics

Mitsubishi said that it's the largest solar-powered rice mill in the U.S.

Corporate solar installations in this range--Google's solar array at its headquarters generates 1.6 megawatts--are the biggest area for growth in the solar industry.

Corporations and agribusiness invest in these systems to get a predictable electricity price over several years, hedging against rising prices.

The Far West Rice Mills installation will deliver 1,440,000 kilowatt hours a year and qualifies for $1.8 million in rebates from Pacific Gas & Electric.

Update on June 19, 8:38 a.m. PT: Headline corrected to reflect that it is a rice mill.