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Designing Solar-Powered Dairy Farms in California

By July 27, 2021Blog
Aerial view of black-and-white-cows grazing in a green pasture next to rows of solar panels on a solar farm.

We’ve seen growing interest in solar installations on dairy farms for commercial solar energy solutions in California. Like many farms, dairy farms have several features that make them ideal for solar systems, including plenty of open spaces, and processes that can save farmers money. Let’s look at how it works, and why Coldwell Solar is your solar energy company in California for dairy farm solar installations.

What is a Solar-Powered Dairy Farm?

These are agricultural solar energy systems installed in open spaces on dairy farms. Their size can vary considerably based on the farm’s renewable energy goals and how much electricity the farm would like to sell back to the grid. These installations can both increase the value of farm property and allow farmers to save energy for years into the future.

Where are Solar Panels Installed?

There are several options – one popular solution is to install solar panels over the grazing fields themselves. Sturdy installations in these locations are ideally positioned to take advantage of as much sunlight as possible throughout the day. Farms can also consider a rooftop installation on barns or milking sheds, although options here may be a bit more limited.

How Can These Installations Help Dairy Farms?

Commercial and industrial solar in California has many advantages, but dairy farms can benefit in several ways:

  • Solar panels can provide energy for a wide variety of dairy farm purposes, including powering irrigation, heating water, refrigeration, lighting, and electric fences. In the right situation, farmers may also be able to power homes and living quarters.
  • For larger installations, excess energy can be sold to utilities to help generate additional cash flows.
  • Solar panels over grazing fields can provide a significant amount of shade that can help livestock stay healthier on hot days (as well as help with crop growth).
  • Solar energy can also generate renewable energy credits that farms can use or sell depending on their goals.
  • Solar installations increase the long-term value of the property.
  • Tax credits and other incentives make solar project initial costs more affordable.

Are There Any Livestock Concerns with These Solar Farms?

Not if they are installed and maintained properly. The solar panels must be high enough that livestock cannot reach them, and their supports need to be sturdy enough to remain undamaged by grazing livestock. This step is managed during the design process as the farm decides where the best place for a solar installation is.

The dairy farm should also arrange for maintenance throughout the life of the solar installation. Technicians can clean the panels, check for any structural damage, and make sure there no problems have developed with their placement.

How Can I See if a Solar-Powered Dairy Farm is Right for Me?

Partner with a commercial solar company like Coldwell Solar, and we can help you see what kind of solar project is right for your farm. We can consult to review your goals and design an installation of the right size to meet your needs. When you are satisfied, we can arrange a date to start construction. Our range of financing options make it easy to work a solar installation into your budget.

The Fed has passed a bill granting renewable energy funds, meaning an expanded tax credit for renewable energy users

Contact us to learn how you can benefit today