For most city dwellers, life on a farm feels like a journey back in time. What kind of technological progress can there be in the carrot beds with a herd of cows grazing in the background? How surprised they are when they notice advanced technologies, such as solar panels, in the midst of a peaceful countryside. More and more environmentally-conscious and animal-loving farmers are choosing them as a clean, quiet and safe source of energy. In this article, we’ll explain how your farm can benefit from adopting solar.
What is agrivoltaics and how your pets benefit from it
Agrivoltaics, also known as agrophotovoltaics, means using land for both agriculture and solar power generation. The traditional model of solar farms pictures vast expanses of land covered with solar panels, which often compete for space with agriculture. In agrivoltaics, solar panels are elevated, allowing cultivating crops and grazing livestock beneath them. The panels generate energy under the sun while providing shade for your animals and plants.
Smart land use is not the only advantage. Here are some others directly related to your animals’ well-being.
Clean source of power
Among other reasons encouraging farmers to build farms far away from big cities is the wish to give their wards the best of everything – vast lands for grazing, clean grass, fresh air, silence and safety. This is why traditional energy sources for most farmers are not an option as they often involve the combustion of fossil fuels, which can release pollutants and particulate matter into the air. These emissions can have detrimental effects on air quality and, by extension, the health of animals residing on the farm.
Solar panels, on the other hand, generate electricity without producing any harmful emissions or by-products. The entire process is clean and silent. This is particularly crucial in environments where the well-being of animals is a top priority. Horses, for instance, are known for their sensitivity to air quality, and any improvements in this regard can positively impact their respiratory health.
Furthermore, the installation of solar panels eliminates the need for on-site fuel storage, reducing the risk of accidental spills or leaks that could potentially harm animals and contaminate the land.
The quiet operation of solar panels also minimizes noise pollution, creating a more tranquil setting and having a positive impact on the behavior and well-being of the animals under the care of the farm.
As we’ve already said, horse or livestock farms are usually situated in remote or rural areas, making access to traditional power sources challenging. Moreover, relying on these traditional sources leaves farms vulnerable in the face of constant power outages and supply disruptions. While power is a critical resource in farming, used for heating barns, pumping water, providing lighting and ventilation, and powering essential equipment. The well-being of dozens of lives depends on you and a stable power supply.
Solar panels, combined with energy storage systems like batteries, offer a practical solution, providing a stable and reliable source of electricity without the need for extensive infrastructure development, which enhances the resilience of operations and reduces reliance on centralized power systems.
Traditional energy sources, such as electricity generated from the grid, are expensive and the operational costs of managing the whole farm can be overwhelming. And one of the primary reasons farmers are opting for solar panels is the significant cost savings they offer. Solar panels, once installed, harness sunlight to generate electricity, providing a renewable and cost-effective alternative. You don’t need to buy fuel. Their fuel is the sun and the sun is free.
Solar panels contribute to cost savings in the long run, but what to do with the substantial initial investment for installing solar panels? And there is a solution. The American government is recognizing the importance of renewable energy and is encouraging its adoption by offering various incentives, rebates, tax credits, subsidies, and grants on federal, state, or local levels. Horse and livestock owners can take advantage of these programs to offset the initial costs of installing solar panels and enhance the overall return on investment.
Minimal maintenance requirements
Feeding, grazing, milking, shearing, rubbing down, cleaning, vetting… There are so many things to do apart from taking care of power sources. This is one more reason why farmers prefer solar panels.
Solar panels have minimal maintenance requirements compared to traditional power sources. Once installed, they require occasional cleaning to ensure optimal performance. This low maintenance aspect makes them an attractive option for busy farmers who may not have the time or resources to devote to complex and regular upkeep.