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.

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.


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.


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:


The footings were deep:


The foundation was poured:


The turbine arrived:


Along with the blades:


And the service basket:


The tower was assembled and the windmill was there.


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


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