The cost of solar energy has dropped dramatically in recent years. FairShare’s Solar Harvest Group Buy with H&H Solar is bringing those cost savings to homes and farms around Wisconsin!
Find specific details about the group buy discount and additional cost saving options in the Solar Harvest HOME SYSTEMS Brochure and Solar Harvest FARM SYSTEMS Brochure. Anyone is eligible to join the FairShare group buy. You can share this information with friends and neighbors to maximize the solar savings! The more solar systems we install, the bigger the group buy discount, the more energy we save, and the greater the impact on CSA farms and farmers. Our goal for the 2016 program is at least 16 systems installed!
All systems purchased through this FairShare group will receive at least a 3% discount off of the system purchased. That discount will go up to 5% when 8 systems are installed and up to 7% when we reach our goal of 16 systems or more. See these brochures for estimates of costs and savings on your HOME SYSTEM or FARM SYSTEM through the FairShare group buy. This list outlines some of the savings:
In addition to your discount, H&H will donate $500 – $1,750 per system to FairShare, depending on the system size and overall participation. To date, H&H has donated over $25,500 to Fairshare. We used that money to support our grower education program which providing support and services to CSA farmers throughout Wisconsin.
See the 2014 Isthmus article about the group buy; it features Crossroads Community Farm.
Cassie and Mike Noltnerwyss operate Crossroads Community Farm at the intersection of County Highways J and P near Cross Plains. They feed over 350 families a year via their CSA and never drive further than 20 miles to deliver their produce. H&H Solar installed 78 solar panels on their farm which will offset 30,840 pounds of CO2 per year, equivalent to the emissions from burning 33 barrels of oil per year.
What made you and Mike decide to spring for a solar array?
It’s something we’ve always wanted to do, but we had a lot of other infrastructure we had to take care of first. This is our 10th season. Every year we reinvest in the business, and this was the first year that there wasn’t something huge that took priority for investing. There are always small toys such as a new implement or something else you can buy, but this year we thought, OK we can actually finance this, we can do this.
How much did it cost?
Around $80,000. There are tax incentives and then we applied for a grant. It’s for the house and the farm. That’s why it’s such a big project. If we get the grant, we’ll get back $16,000. The panels are on our home and our pack shed. They did the first test connection yesterday. It was the first time I could see the meters going backwards. It was so exciting! We’re looking forward to when they do the final connection. We have a couple of more weeks before we can officially hook it up. We’re on a really busy road. It’s been fun to have other people be excited on our behalf.
How are you calculating payback for this project?
The expected payback is 6 or 7 years. Our current electricity bill fluctuates massively depending on how hot and/or dry it is. Hotter temps mean more power to run our walk-in coolers. Drier means more power needed to pump water for irrigation. It varies quite a bit from season to season. Our pack shed and water pumps use the same amount of power as two homes annually, so it is like we are powering three homes on this property.
How was the planning process, the technical aspect of calculating your solar gain and such?
H and H Solar did all the technical aspects. The question was, can we get 100 percent of all the power possible with the roofs we have? We’re going to be really close. We will have a very small bill on an annual level. Some years we can generate 95 percent of what we need, other years 80 percent, so we’ll see. We’re hoping we’re above 90 percent most of the time.
Have you thought about what it will mean to your kids when they get older and recognize the significance of having solar on your farm?
We feel really good about that. We can tell our kids, yes, there are all these environmental problems that we can’t fix ourselves, but your dad and I have tried our best to do what we can.
Can you talk about your deeper motivations for going solar?
We’re growing our food locally and organically, and we try not to drive it far. So you could decide you’re doing enough. Or you could ask, what else can we do? This was the next thing that we could think of that would advance our ethical and moral goals, and be in line with our beliefs. For other people who aren’t guided that way, solar still makes sense. If you know you’re going to be living in one place for 10 years, it’s worth it financially. That wasn’t our motivation, but it’s certainly a nice perk. It helps to outlay that level of cash knowing you will eventually get a good return. Eventually you will pay off that bill and your electricity really is free. So you can get that fuzzy, warm, emotional feeling of having done a really great thing for the environment, but that doesn’t motivate everybody and it doesn’t need to.