Harnessing Solar Power for a Sustainable Future
In our previous article, we explored the remarkable journey of Finn River Farm and their commitment to innovative sustainable practices. Today, we revisit this inspiring farm to share another milestone in their quest for sustainability and self-reliance.
Green Energy Leadership
In a world where renewable energy and green initiatives are paramount, Finn River Farm has set a new standard for local farms with their recent venture into solar power. The farm’s mission, which includes educating and inspiring wise land use, took another bold step towards a greener future. In collaboration with local renewable energy advocates and Power Trip Energy company, Finn River applied for the USDA Rural Energy for America program (REAP).
The USDA REAP program is a crucial resource for farms and rural businesses seeking to adopt renewable energy solutions. It provides grants, loans, and guaranteed loan financing to assist with the installation of energy-efficient systems, including solar panels. As highlighted in a FarmRaise article about the program, it’s essential to meet the matching requirement, and Finn River successfully embraced this opportunity to leverage federal support [source: FarmRaise].
With matching funds from REAP, federal tax credits, support from a Barnraiser crowdfunding campaign, and loans, Finn River Farm installed an expandable, grid-tied 65-kilowatt solar system featuring 212 solar panels. These panels now span across 3,000 square feet of roof space at their Cider Garden. This ambitious project aimed to contribute significantly to their energy needs, reflecting their dedication to sustainability.
Initial estimates suggested that the solar panels would produce 65,000 kWh of electricity annually, which could cover over half of the farm’s yearly power requirements while simultaneously feeding green energy back into the grid. However, the results have surpassed expectations. After a year in operation, the solar panels have generated around 74,500 kWh, which is enough electricity to offset nearly 80% of Finn River’s electricity consumption at the Cider Garden property.
This solar initiative not only benefits Finn River Farm by reducing their carbon footprint and energy costs but also demonstrates the remarkable potential for farms to embrace renewable energy and make a significant environmental impact. It underscores the importance of exploring federal and state resources, like the USDA REAP program, in pursuing sustainable projects that can ultimately help farms achieve energy independence and contribute to a greener world.
Finn River’s journey is a testament to the possibilities that lie ahead for local farms, especially when they combine innovation, community support, and available grants and programs. Their story is an inspiration to all who seek to lead the way towards a more sustainable and environmentally conscious future.
USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). [5 Considerations for on farm energy grants and loans from USDA]
Barnraiser Crowdfunding Campaigns. [Your first Barnraiser Campaign]