As a growing number of farmers across the United States deal with financial difficulties from the COVID-19 pandemic, a Purdue University-affiliated company is working to help farms slash their carbon footprints and energy costs.
Emergent Solar Energy, headquartered at Purdue Research Foundation's Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette, provides solar solutions to the commercial and industrial, municipal and agricultural sectors across the Midwest.
The company just placed a 124-kilowatt ground-mounted solar array on Harlow Farms in Tipton County, Ind., to help the agricultural operation slash its carbon footprint and energy costs. It is the largest on-farm solar project in the county.
The solar power is offsetting the energy load of the hog barns and grain storage system.
"Every morning a potential energy source rises over the horizon to the east of my farm," says Will Harlow, owner of the farm. "It seemed a waste to not harness this daily free energy source, erasing some of what I take from the grid. The solar components being made in the United States was also important to me. I hope if any positive comes from this pandemic, it is that we must do what we can to get production of all kinds returning to America."
This new solar project will supply 90% of the annual electricity needs of their entire farm facility.
"This project was complex with four grid-tied meters, complete electrical service upgrade, and the use of directional boring as opposed to trenching," says Jeremy Lipinski, managing partner of Emergent. "We had to balance the economics with the project aesthetics, and I feel as if we accomplished our goal."