Wind and Solar Power

Wind and Solar power are a big component in our sustainable farming program. Renewable energy is and always will be an interest of ours and what better way is there to make our farm operation a statement of that philosophy. The building which houses our mill was designed specifically to accommodate solar panels with the roof facing due south and at a slope of approximately 41 degrees, corresponding to the latitude of our geographic location. The panels were installed in 2005.

 

Close up solar panels
Close up of solar panels

 

The panels produce a type of electricity called “direct current” abbreviated DC. DC power is converted to usable power for us, or “alternating current” abbreviated AC, by passing through inverters. Our system uses four inverters to convert the DC power to AC for use in the mill.

mill_solar_inverters
The 4 Sunny Boy inverters

 

We are able to keep track of the power generated by the panels through the use of a separate meter located in the mill. Another meter ( labeled “shop” ) keeps track of the power consumed by the machinery in the mill, as well as the lighting.

mill_meters_1

In addition to these 2 meters inside the mill, we have what is called a “net metering” meter outside the mill. This meter is the one that actually connects our power usage to the “grid” and allows any excess energy we may produce to flow back to the grid, supplying power to other grid customers.

mill_net_meter

Fast forward to 2010 when a 3 year long permitting process culminated in the installation of an 11K Gaia wind generator.  Once the necessary documentation was in place ground breaking for the foundation began:

turbine_ground_breaking

The footings were deep:

turbine_foundation_1

The foundation was poured:

turbine_foundation_2

The turbine arrived:

turbine_generator_arrives_1

Along with the blades:

turbine_blades_arrive_1

And the service basket:

turbine_service_basket_1

The tower was assembled and the windmill was there.

turbine_tower_completed

Well, it didn’t happen quite that quickly. You can read a detailed account of the wind project to find out specifics.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.
Required fields are marked:*

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Powered by sweet Captcha