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Home permits higher, solar soars

Business is better for Kings County’s home builders along with companies who install solar panels. On the new housing front 2015 saw permits for 321 homes,compared to 235 for all of 2014 and 200 for 2013. Last year home grown San Joaquin Valley Homes was the county’s busiest contractor permitting 84 new homes. Solar power activity is way up as well. In 2015 residential solar permits numbered 949 valued at $15.2 million. On the commercial solar side there were permits issued for 21 solar projects (typically much larger) valued at $10.1 million. Those numbers compare to 722 residential solar permits in 2014 for $10.1 million and 9 commercial projects valued at $5.6 million. In 2013 there were 379 residential projects and 3 commercial. To sum up—from 2013 to 2015 the value of all solar projects in the county soared from $7.8 million to $25.3 million, better than a 300% increase. All figures are from Construction monitor. Bringing the solar story up to date, the Hanford Target store is getting solar arrays on its huge span of rooftop this month.

Milk prices still sour—King’s production off

Still tough in dairyland as both prices and production are down in Kings County. Our number one crop is selling closer to $13 per cwt instead of $21 as it was in 2014.Ouch! Overall milk production was down 3.3 percent in Kings County in 2015 with 4000 fewer cows—down to 180,000 head. Statewide milk production has been down for 13 months in a row (almost 4% in the past year) as Chinese imports of US milk powder have fallen way off.World powder prices are below 80 cents compared to $2 in mid-2014. Cheese prices are depressed as well. At the same time butter prices continue to be the savior for the dairy industry, says Hanford producer Joaquin Contente. But it’s a double edged sword, he adds. ”When butter prices raced up to over $3 a pound last year, it drew imports of foreign butter into the US despite a 69 cent tariff.” Prices have declined since then, “around $2/lb today, still very good.” Meanwhile news that McDonalds would be selling breakfast all day using only butter,not margarine,” has been a real bright spot.”

Forever 21 building in escrow

Forever21 had its Hanford Mall building,now empty, up for sale for several months and now may have found a buyer. City Manager Darrel Pyle says the property is in escrow to a new developer who likely is working with a tenant or tenants. Pyle adds “for Hanford—every vacancy is an opportunity.” The mall recently announced the addition of several new restaurants coming in.

Other news

Quality Machinery is grading for its new 10,200sf shop and warehouse at its 3rd St property. Cheapest gasoline in town is available this week at Arco on 12th Ave selling for $2.09 a gallon, up 7 cents in the past day. Diesel is a bargain today at $1.99, also at the same station, according to Gas Buddy.

Home permits higher, solar soars

Business is better for Kings County’s home builders along with companies who install solar panels. On the new housing front 2015 saw permits for 321 homes,compared to 235 for all of 2014 and 200 for 2013. Last year home grown San Joaquin Valley Homes was the county’s busiest contractor permitting 84 new homes.

Solar power activity is way up as well. In 2015 residential solar permits numbered 949 valued at $15.2 million. On the commercial solar side there were permits issued for 21 solar projects (typically much larger) valued at $10.1 million. Those numbers compare to 722 residential solar permits in 2014 for $10.1 million and 9 commercial projects valued at $5.6 million. In 2013 there were 379 residential projects and 3 commercial. To sum up—from 2013 to 2015 the value of all solar projects in the county soared from $7.8 million to $25.3 million, better than a 300% increase. All figures are from Construction monitor.

Bringing the solar story up to date, the Hanford Target store is getting solar arrays on its huge span of rooftop this month.

Milk prices still sour—King’s production off

Still tough in dairyland as both prices and production are down in Kings County. Our number one crop is selling closer to $13 per cwt instead of $21 as it was in 2014.Ouch! Overall milk production was down 3.3 percent in Kings County in 2015 with 4000 fewer cows—down to 180,000 head.

Statewide milk production has been down for 13 months in a row (almost 4% in the past year) as Chinese imports of US milk powder have fallen way off. World powder prices are below 80 cents compared to $2 in mid-2014. Cheese prices are depressed as well.

At the same time butter prices continue to be the savior for the dairy industry, says Hanford producer Joaquin Contente. But it’s a double edged sword, he adds. ”When butter prices raced up to over $3 a pound last year, it drew imports of foreign butter into the US despite a 69 cent tariff.”

Prices have declined since then, “around $2/lb today, still very good.” Meanwhile news that McDonalds would be selling breakfast all day using only butter,not margarine,” has been a real bright spot.”

Forever 21 building in escrow

Forever21 had its Hanford Mall building,now empty, up for sale for several months and now may have found a buyer. City Manager Darrel Pyle says the property is in escrow to a new developer who likely is working with a tenant or tenants. Pyle adds “for Hanford—every vacancy is an opportunity.” The mall recently announced the addition of several new restaurants coming in.

Other news

Quality Machinery is grading for its new 10,200sf shop and warehouse at its 3rd St property.

Cheapest gasoline in town is available this week at Arco on 12th Ave selling for $2.09 a gallon, up 7 cents in the past day. Diesel is a bargain today at $1.99, also at the same station, according to Gas Buddy.

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John Lindt is an independent business writer. You can reach him at Sierra2thesea@gmail.com or see website: sierra2thesea.com

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