Making the switch to solar power

Stan Ruth, left, and Dennis Janowiak of Ecojiva install solar power system at Enterprise Hill Farm near Milan, OhioEnterprise Hill Farm at Norwalk, Ohio is making the switch to solar power.

“Well long term I think it has a better chance of working out than wind because like the last few days that were high electric use days, the wind wasn’t blowing,” said Kurt Heyman with Enterprise Hill Farm. “There’s less moving parts with it, we like that, I guess the rest of the feelings about it will be determined after a year or two and we see how it works.”

The 50-kilowatt solar power system will supply about two-thirds of the power used on the farm.

Audio: Kurt Heyman, farmer, Norwalk, Ohio (3:05 mp3)

While the Heyman’s solar system is the first in Ohio installed by Ecojiva, the company has already installed 96 systems on farms in Michigan.


Nebraska project focuses on alternative energy

Developing alternative energy sources for rural Nebraska—that’s the goal of a new project based at the Haskell Ag Lab near Concord in northeast Nebraska.

The project is called “Sustainable Energy Options for Rural Nebraska.”  UNL irrigation specialist Bill Kranz is one of the researchers on the project.  He says one of their efforts will involve ethanol-powered irrigation engines.  Kranz notes that Nebraska has about 93-thousand active irrigation wells statewide with engines currently powered by diesel, electicity, natural gas or propane.   

“The whole area depends on what might happen in the air quality arena,” Kranz says. “If EPA develops additional regulations on diesel and other engines, then ethanol may raise to the top a little bit, in terms of its use for this purpose.”

The project, which will also involve research on electrical generation systems powered by wind and solar energy, received a 500-thousand dollar federal grant.  A groundbreaking ceremony for the project was held Thursday at the Haskell Ag Lab.

AUDIO: Bill Kranz (7 min MP3)

Good time for solar

russell-editBrad Collins, Executive Director, American Solar Energy Society says it’s a good time for solar. What makes it a good time? Brad shares the keys to moving foward in a conversation with Dave Russell.

AUDIO: Brad Collins, Exec. Director, American Solar Energy Society (5:05 MP3)