• Brad Morton

7 Reasons Farmers Should Invest in Solar

Why should you consider solar power for your farm? Many cost benefits make solar an excellent investment for farms of all sizes. Those range from the reduced price thanks to grants to the ease of installation. Here's a closer look at why you should consider solar power for your farm or

ag business:

1. The total cost of going solar - for big projects and small ones - can potentially be offset by energy programs offered by the USDA. The range of programs is impressive, as are the terms.

The Rural Energy for America Program Energy Audit & Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grants is just one option. The current program is open but ends on July 31, 2022.

2. Add Electricity in Remote Areas - Solar makes it easier to add electrical power to remote locations around a farm. Small projects may involve only a few panels but provide enough energy to power a well pump that provides water to crops or livestock without digging ditches for piping

water or conduits for electrical. Larger projects can include total energy generation to power the entire farm. Additionally, small solar projects can power tank heaters that keep watering troughs free of ice so that animals can have access to water in colder climates.

3. Reduced Energy Costs - Going fully solar helps reduce the cost of what you grow or raise. If you do not like writing that check each month to the power company, consider the benefits of going solar. Once you have paid for your array, the cost of maintaining a solar array is relatively low. That means energy from the array is close to being free.

4. Extension Programs - Many farms and ranches use extension programs to install greenhouses, etc. When paired with solar energy, the cost of heating a greenhouse in winter drops significantly. The power from your solar array also means you can start plants earlier and end the season later. The same is true in summer when you need to keep plants in a range of temperatures. Solar energy makes it much more cost-effective to run chillers and AC units in summer and burners or heaters in winter. Adding solar power to an extension plan means that you can grow indoors nearly all year long. For ranchers, solar power means you can heat barns and paddocks so that livestock spend energy growing rather than keeping warm.

5. Solar Energy for Rechargeable Vehicles - As technology advances, farm equipment advances improve. With new Electric powered farm equipment, a solar program makes a lot of sense for farmers. Electic-powered farm vehicles, including tractors, are available from big-name manufacturers, such as John Deere. Solar power means you are fueling your farm equipment for next to nothing. It also means you reduce the expense of buying fuel, storing fuel, and managing fuel for equipment. In addition, with solar battery backup systems, farm equipment can recharge overnight, giving you a full range of options each morning.

6. Solar Powered Water Supply Systems - How much does it cost farmers each month to power the pumps that deliver the water to the irrigation ditches that water their crops? It becomes easier and more cost-effective to water crops all year long and to even run frost protection

during the winter months with solar energy.

7. Solar Power Reduces Labor - with automatic fillers, you no longer have to direct labor resources to deliver water to livestock in remote locations. The solar-powered pump and a float valve will keep the stock tanks full. The same is true when trucking water to crops is the norm. Solar power makes it easier to install wells in remote locations and power the pumps. That means you can grow more crops in areas where

energy delivery was an issue.

Solar energy makes a lot of sense for farmers. When paired with a battery backup system, power becomes available even when the sun is not shining. Battery backups make it possible to charge electric farm equipment during the night, extend growing with light systems, and provide energy when you need it. In addition, with USDA grants available, the overall cost of going solar becomes more manageable.

The benefits of going solar for farmers are many. These seven reasons show us why farmers should consider going solar and show how much potential solar energy has for farms of all sizes. To learn more about the opportunities of going solar on your farm, give us a call.

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