Considering Commercial Solar?

Here are five questions you should ask first.

By Sabra Morris | Photos By Jamie Cole

Lakeside's 4 acres of panels produce 1.7 million kilowatt hours a year.

Lakeside’s 4 acres of panels produce 1.7 million kilowatt hours a year.

1. How much electricity do I use?

Your electricity-use history can help potential installers recommend the right-sized system and help you determine if it’s a viable investment.

2. Can I part with the land?

Depending on what you’re growing or raising, losing land to solar could actually result in financial loss.

3. Where do I start looking for estimates?

Word of mouth is the best place to start. Talk to other producers who’ve gone solar about their experience. Ask for recommendations for reliable contractors. Then, get at least three quotes.

4. Can I visit a similar site?

Touring operations with solar installations similar to what you may potentially install helps you get familiar with the process.

5. What are the incentives?

U.S. incentives vary from state to state and change periodically. Find the latest state and federal incentive info at dsireusa.org/incentives/. Choose your state or click on “See Federal Incentives.”

If you’d like more information about installing a solor-power system for your dairy or other large agricultural operation, Mike Monteiro, co-owner of Lakeside Dairy, one of the largest solar-powered dairies in North America, says he’d be happy to help. Contact him at amonteiro89@aol.com.

For a PDF outlining Canada’s federal tax incentives for commercial PV systems, contact The Class 43.1 Secretariat at Natural Resources Canada at: Class43_1@NRCan-RNCan.gc.ca. For info on Canada’s current energy conservation, renewable energy and clean-energy initiatives, visit: http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/ecoaction/. For details on Ontario’s Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) program for commercial PV systems, visit: http://fit.powerauthority.on.ca/fit-program.

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