Why a PV System is the Right Choice for Your Farm

Our friends at Naveco Power, New Brunswick-based renewable energy developer, bring us this guest blog about the potential for solar power to help New Brunswick’s farming community.

New Brunswick’s first solar farm, outside of Sussex, N.B.

As one of New Brunswick’s crucial community farmers, you are providing food for many — but just what can we bring to the table for you? The usage of solar energy is becoming more and more popular in society, and people are wondering why they should buy a PV system for their farm. It’s widely known what solar can do for the Earth, but are there any consumer benefits? The answer is yes, and here’s why.

Reduced Operational Costs

Going solar is an investment, but it doesn’t have to be at a steep price. Most solar companies operate off of a large, upfront cost, but this isn’t always the case. At Naveco, we introduce you to a leasing option. This allows you to save money by lowering your electrical demand. You can then generate income, which you can be invested back into your farm. You can use this option to pay off your lease, or invest in new farming equipment.

Crops + PV System = Agrivoltaics

Now that’s a word you’ve probably never heard before. Agrivoltaics refers to the integration of a solar PV system within the existing agriculture operations on your farmland. This means that you don’t have to choose between the two in terms of land usage, as they can coexist on the same property.

Wouldn’t the PV system get in the way? Not so. The panels act as a sort of buffer between extreme temperatures for your plants. During the day, they prevent the plants from receiving too much direct sunlight. At night, on the other hand, they act as an insulator to stop the plants from getting too cold. Keeping conditions at a more moderate level may increase plant productivity, and therefore crop yield. So, if you’re deciding whether you should harvest sunlight or veggies, why not do both? While this is still a growing area of research, it could increase the efficiency of your farm in terms of cost, crop production, and energy acquisition.

Benefiting the environment…and therefore, your crops

If you don’t know much about solar energy, one thing you probably know is its effect on the environment. Solar, as well as other forms of renewable energy, exist as a means of replacing traditional methods of energy production. Fossil fuels are a major factor contributing to pollution and climate change. Therefore, many people around the world are adopting alternative methods to save our planet.

Among the negative effects that pollution has on the Earth, is its impact on nature. Different plants have different temperatures that they have adapted to and can thrive in. This means that any change in temperature can really affect whether they can grow. Consequently, we all need to do our part to mitigate climate change, in order to sustain our planet for every species that inhabits it. While there are many benefits to changing up our daily routine as individuals, there are even more benefits when businesses take action. Getting a solar PV system as a farm owner is a huge step in the right direction for a sustainable lifestyle, which will benefit you and your crops.

—FAQ—

How much should I be spending per year to consider solar?

If your electrical bill is more than $25,000 you should consider installing solar.

Can my livestock graze around ground-mounted solar units?

Depending on the animal. Sheep do not climb or harm the modules, and are commonly used for vegetation control while they graze. Cattle and horse grazing can cause risk of damage to the modules due to their large size. They are generally not compatible with PV facilities.

Will installing solar contaminate the soil?

Studies show that when using silicon-based PV cells that the “leaching of trace metals from modules is unlikely to present a significant risk due to the sealed nature of the installed cells.”

Can solar power my farming equipment?

Solar can offset the power required for your equipment whether it be irrigation equipment, milking equipment, or general farm essentials.

My land floods in the spring. Can I still install solar?

The modules can be installed in areas that flood, however the electrical equipment cannot. Insurance will be higher for a PV system in an area that floods versus an area that does not.

Can my land be converted back to agricultural land after the life of the solar system?

Yes. After the lifespan of a solar system (20-25 years) land can be reverted back into agricultural use.

Harvest the benefits of renewable energy, and go solar with Naveco Power. We will be with you every step of the way and are committed to providing the most benefits possible for our customers.

References:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-019-0364-5

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-47803-3#Sec2