At the Harrold Family Farm, we are solar powered! As of July 19th, 2018, our solar collector has produced 42,662 kilowatt hours of power and saved 72,524 pounds of CO2 since the system was installed in 2012.
Did you know that Alberta is Canada's second sunniest province? The sun is a valuable natural resource and we are thrilled to be a part of the solar movement in our province.
On this page:
Our Electricity Production System
In 1979, a slant-wall shop was built on our farm, with a south facing orientation. By 1984, a Passive Solar Collector had been installed through a Farming for the Future grant. It lasted until 2002 when it finally aged out.
A grid-tied 27 panel unit was installed in 2012 with funding support from the Government of Alberta's Growing Forward Solar PV Pilot Program.
The system was designed and installed by Great Canadian Solar, with Battle River Electrical as the wire provider.
The panels are connected to an inverter unit (converts the panel DC power to the grid AC power). The inverter is then connected to the shop's electrical panel providing power to the electrical grid. No batteries are used in this system. A bi-directional meter directs the produced power to the yard grid first. Any power produced over the yard demand is directed to the feeder grid.
The panels are specially designed to resist hail damage and the unit requires little maintenance - snow loads are cleaned off to maximize uptake of energy in the winter months.
6.3 kwh unit, grid-tied, net metering and anti-islanding
SMA Inverter Unit, with Bluetooth monitoring capability
Slope and latitude were ideal for this installation
Costs - 50% covered by the Growing Forward grant
Delivers information regarding power production and CO2 offsets
Longevity - the panels are warranted for 25 years
Heat from the inverter adds to the shop temperature
Peak production: March - April
As a requirement of our partnership with the Growing Forward Program, we have submitted quarterly data to them. Analysis of the data generated by this project and others like it will help us to move forward into the future of energy production for all.
The potential benefits of solar power generation include reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the buffering of existing production and transmission infrastructure. Our unit is designed so that we can add panels to in in the future. Like planting trees, we do this to satisfy present needs, but it will be our grandchildren who enjoy the shade.
Suggested resource: Solar Energy Society of Alberta - a go-to site for information about solar energy in Alberta.
Our Solar-Powered Livestock Watering System
Our solar-powered watering system was installed in 2017, in one of our north pastures. Environmentally, this keeps the cattle out of the dugout, and on the production side, the cows and calves are healthier for having easy access to water.
In this self-contained unit, the solar panel provides electrical energy to charge two batteries and run the floating pump in the dugout. A float mechanism switches the pump on and off to maintain the level of water in the tank. The unit can be moved to a different location when the cattle are moved to another pasture.