Hammond Farm. Photo by Matt Ryerson, Lincoln Journal Star.
Renewable energy is a hot topic nowadays among farmers here in Nebraska and states all across the country. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and other national and local organizations provide numerous resources for farmers on how to harness the power of the sun and profit from it.
These include information on various uses of solar energy technologies in farm operations, ongoing research, programs and policies. The costs of installing solar have greatly declined in recent years and continue to drop. Publications written even a short time ago don’t reflect this good news and, instead, create the impression that solar is more costly than it actually is. The best sources of up-to-date information on costs are free estimates from local solar installers listed in our online directory and others.
Resources may also not include information about solar incentives and rebates, which significantly reduce the costs even more. Again, local solar professionals can provide this information, as well as the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) : Nebraska incentives, grants and loans for renewables and energy efficiency- 46 programs. (DSIRE)
The following are only a select number of the many available resources on using solar on farms and homes. Please email any additional resources you’d like to add to this list to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Solar Energy Use in U.S. Agriculture (PDF)
This April 2011 report from the USDA provides an “overview of solar energy use by farmers and ranchers in the U.S. that identifies trends and future potential.”
Determining the Optimum Solar Water Pumping System for Domestic Use, Livestock Watering or Irrigation (PDF)
USDA. Conservation and Production Research Laboratory
This publication helps farmers and landowners select a stand-alone solar photovoltaic system for water pumping. Steps include deciding whether a wind or solar water pumping system would be best, determining the type of PV module, how controller can affect the decision, selecting pump type, and analyzing the monthly water demand requirement.
Farm Energy Alternatives
ATTRA – National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service
Includes a section on solar energy with success stories, links, and select publications.
Solar Greenhouses https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/viewhtml.php?id=59
Florida Solar Energy Center
University of Central Florida
Publications and other information sources on solar energy education, effect on the environment and building, photovoltaic and solar thermal technologies.
Spring Deadline for Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grants
Nebraskans for Solar
Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grants
US Department of Energy – Nebraska
Jeff Carpenter, Energy Coordinator, Rural Development – 100 Centennial Mall North, Room 308 Federal Building, Lincoln, Nebraska 68508. Telephone: 402-437-5554
Email: email@example.com Website: www.rd.usda.gov/ne
Farm Energy Success Stories
Up with the Sun: Solar Energy and Agriculture
Union of Concerned Scientists
Solar Energy Basics
National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL)
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Lincoln Journal Star: Farms flexing solar power
Houston Chronicle: Solar power gaining popularity among Nebraska farmers