24 Jun 2020

Maine farms powered by solar

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Harvesting Photons

To be a sustainable business, farmers must rely on a good understanding of ecosystem services, community support, and responsible business practices. That is why many Maine farms have turned to solar to offset their electrical costs while reducing their carbon footprint. Here are a few farms that have decided to start harvesting photons!

In Topsham, Whatley Farm uses energy from its solar array to power its electric vehicles. This includes a 1947 Allis Chalmers Model G cultivating tractor they converted to electric. The solar power also provides a significant portion of the electricity for their organic wash/pack shed and greenhouse operations.

Solar array installation at Whatley Farm in Topsham, ME.

Solar array at the Little Cheese Shop at Balfour Farm in Pittsfield, ME.

Balfour Farm in Pittsfield was looking for a way to reduce their fossil fuel use at their off-grid dairy operations. They tapped into the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry’s Dairy Improvement Fund to invest in a solar and a battery storage system. As a result, they reduced their reliance on fossil fuel by 85%!

Utilizing a USDA REAP grant allowed The Milkhouse to install 192 solar panels at their dairy and creamery operations in Monmouth. The system offsets all of the farm’s energy use. This is a lot considering the scale of their operations. For instance, farmers at The Milkhouse raise around 100 head of cattle. They also milk 30-40 cows daily and process over 200 gallons of milk a day.