KVCCSolarThermal by gstec

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									             Solar Heating—Heat for your Farm from the Sun
Solar heating (both air and hot water) is a practical, clean, renewable energy option available to
Maine farms. As heating costs have risen, solar heating has become an increasingly attractive
option to farms with greenhouses, dairy operations and maple sugar operations to name a few.
Maine has enough sunshine to make solar heating
viable!

Are you interested in….

      Significantly reducing your farm’s energy
       costs and increasing your bottomline?
      Becoming energy independent?
      Reducing your farm’s impact on the
       environment, bringing you peace of mind and
       showing customers your farm is committed
       to environmental stewardship?

If one or more of these suggestions could benefit
                                                             Solar air installation at Duratherm Windows,
your farm, the installation of a solar heating system        Vassalboro, photo by Heliotropic Technologies
could not only be realistic, but a profitable opportunity.

More about solar heating Solar heating technology harnesses the sun’s energy to create
thermal energy for water heating and space heating. This can be beneficial if your farm uses a
lot of hot water, or has high heating needs for barns or other farm buildings. Solar thermal
                                    collectors can be placed on any south facing roof on a farm
                                    building, on a south facing wall, or in a field or other open
                                    area close to where the heat is needed. For water heating,
                                    solar radiation is converted to heat that is transferred to a
                                    non-toxic antifreeze in the solar collector. The heated anti-
                                    freeze is then sent to a water tank to heat water as needed.
                                    For solar space heating, typically air is heated by the
                                    collector and then circulated throughout the building or
                                    space being heated (though water or a non-toxic liquid can
                                    be used).

                                    Wondering if solar heating is right for your farm? Dairy
farms in Maine are already using solar heating to help meet their high hot water demand.
Greenhouses and maple sugar houses are also good candidates for solar heating. A few
questions you might want to ask when considering solar heating are….
       Does your farm use a lot of hot water all year long?
       Do you have high heating costs for barns, greenhouses or other farm buildings?
       Do you have a farm structure with a large, strong roof or wall with good southern
        exposure?
       Is there a field, pasture or other open
        area close by to place solar thermal
        collectors?

At Weston Acres Dairy Farm in Litchfield,
they replaced their electric water heater with
a propane fired tankless water heater and
installed a solar heating system on their barn
roof to help heat the water. In the summer
they make enough hot water to stop buying
propane. Overall the system has reduced
their energy costs by over $700 a year.

Cost and Financial Assistance
                                                            Solar Thermal Collectors at Weston Acres Farm, Litchfield

The upfront cost of installing a solar heating
system has always been seen as a significant barrier. However, as a result of staggering
increases in fossil fuel prices (100% in the last seven years) installation and payback periods are
very realistic. Financial assistance is also available from the federal government and the State
of Maine in the form of grants, rebates, guaranteed loans and tax incentives. In some cases,
50% of system installation can be paid for by other sources. Some great programs are:

       US Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) gives grants
        which fund up to 25% of the project cost
       Efficiency Maine Trust’s Renewable Rebate program which pays $500 per 1000 kWh
        (maximum of $4,000)
       IRS federal tax credit of 30% of installation cost

For more information on solar heating applications
for farms, and to learn more about the financial and
technical assistance available to Maine farmers,
please contact Claudia Lowd at Maine Rural Partners
at (207) 581-4523 or CleanEnergy@MaineRural.org

This material has been created by Kennebec Valley Community College and Maine Rural Partners as part of a grant
from USDA’s Renewable Energy Development Assistance program. Program services are limited to agricultural
producers and rural small businesses.

								
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