Cut your farm’s electric and heating bills by installing solar panels on the roof of a building, or have them free-standing. Solar is used for many applications from heating a livestock building to providing power for lighting, water pumping, and crop drying.
Kirk Kreisel is the president of Artisun Solar in Kansas City, Missouri. He says solar panels are 33% more efficient today than five-years ago, and the cost has come down 25%. There are a couple of ways to harness the sun’s power and cut your energy bills depending on your local utility.
"One of them is net metering where during the day when you’re producing energy, it’s basically giving you credits for the energy that you produce and feed back to the grid. And at night when you’re using those credits, it’s just a one-for-one credit," says Kreisel. "The other option, they have what they call avoided costs where if you make more energy than you produce, then they only pay you back avoided cost which is roughly equal to like a wholesale cost, and that’s about 25% of what you’re actually paying."
Even if it’s cloudy for a week, Kreisel says the system will still be interacting with your utility.
"At night when the sun’s down or when the clouds are out you’re not producing as much energy," he says. "But, when we do our analysis of your facility, we type in your address into a system that has historical data on how much daylight you get and how much sunlight irradiance at that location, and that’s going to calculate an estimated amount of energy produced based on those historical conditions."
Depending on your utility rate, where you’re located, and financial incentives, a solar installation usually pays for itself in three-to-five-years.
Learn more about using solar energy on the farm