You are here
Project of the Month - September 2012
Organic farm grows local food and power!
Cloudview EcoFarms grow nutrient-dense, certified organic vegetables and fruits in Central Washington near Royal City. They strive to farm in an ecologically sound manner, implementing permaculture, biodynamic & organic principles. The main philosophy of the farm is to provide food locally through a CSA, Community Sustainable Agriculture. Installing a solar power system using locally made modules and inverters is a natural extension of their philosophy and using power produced onsite to offset their power usage on the farm cold storage unit, just makes good sense. The cold storage was added to extend the period of time that produce can be offered through the local CSA. Now they are growing their own power too!
The 4.8 kW system was designed by Bruce Gage Co-Owner of Ecodepot and installed by Tieson Lodahl of Epic Electric both from Spokane. Bill Hoffer, Sunergy Engineering Services, from East Wenatchee performed 3rd party system commissioning and Performance Validation of the system. Check out the next two upcoming issues of HomePower magazine for the two part article on installation and commissioning of the system. The combination of the Bluefrog microinverters, 20 itek modules and the DH Solar 1 axis tracker maximized the WA incentive with an expected annual output of 9600 kWhrs/yr. Their payments should be at or near the incentive cap of $5000/yr. Expected break even including a 30% Federal tax credit would be in 6.5 years. Total 30 years cumulative income including avoided energy costs should be $22,000 even though the WA incentive is set to expire in 2020. Jim Baird, Farm Elder says “why wouldn’t everyone want to put up solar, it just makes good cents”.