It’s that time of year.
In the spring, pine pollen settles on the solar panels like yellow mud. A strong water spray loosens it up, and scrubbing removes it. Continue reading
If my electric utility paid me as much as I pay them for electricity, I’d be making a profit from my solar panels. As it is, I profit anyway by paying a lot less, the panels are paid for, and I get to watch the electric meter galloping backwards on a sunny day:
The little bars are moving to the left below the numbers, which means I’m selling solar power to the power company.
And that’s with only about Continue reading
From solar electric fences to selling solar power for profit, John S. Quarterman will talk about solar opportunities for farmers and some legal hurdles, at South Georgia Growing Local 2014:
Why solar power is the fastest growing industry in the world and how to apply it to agriculture. Financing is the main obstacle. Some ways to get financing, and at least one law that could be changed to help with that.
His conference bio: Continue reading
Testing out the solar dehydrator with okra, tomatoes, peppers, and a thermometer:
Pictures of Gretchen Quarterman with the solar dehydrator
by John S. Quarterman for Okra Paradise Farms, Lowndes County, Georgia, 4 August 2012.
The sun shines through the window into the lower box, heating air that rises through the upper box, dehydrating fruits and vegetables on the racks. That's the theory; we'll see if it works. Idea shamelessly stolen from Raven Waters; I figure it's his fault if it doesn't work. 🙂
Gretchen Quarterman placing racks in the solar dehydrator
Pictures by John S. Quarterman for Okra Paradise Farms, Lowndes County, Georgia, 3 August 2012.
Here’s the video:
Moody cargo plane overhead
John S. Quarterman, Gretchen Quarterman,
Brown Dog, Yellow Dog,
Lowndes County, Georgia, 7 March 2012.
Video by Gretchen Quarterman
You can see the old panels sticking up on the left, and we’re sitting on some of the new panels, which continue on the lower roof on the right.
These panels were purchased with the assistance of a USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) 25% grant:
Eligible projects include those that derive energy from a wind, solar, biomass, or geothermal source, or hydrogen derived from biomass or water using wind, solar, or geothermal energy sources.The REAP program will probably be renewed this year, so if you have a farm, you could apply.
We also applied for and got a U.S. Treasury 30% grant from the 1603 Program: Payments for Specified Energy Property in Lieu of Tax Credits. That program was funded by the The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act).
Finally, there is the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) 35% Clean Energy Property Tax Credit, which will apply in parts over four years.
That all adds up to 90% covered by grants and tax credits, which is a pretty good deal.
Now that remaining 10% is still a significant amount; like the price of a small car. But in 7-15 years (how long it will take to pay off this system, depending on how you figure it), what would the value of a car be? Much less than when you bought it. Meanwhile, these solar panels will be generating almost as much power as they are now, and they will continue to generate for at least a decade more, probably much more.
The big missing piece is up-front financing. For more on that, see other blog post.
Meanwhile, we have here on our workshop roof a proof of concept, operational right now.
The little dogs wanted to know what we were doing on the roof: Continue reading