Stuart loves farming, and ecological farming in particular. He loves being able to provide fresh local food, and employing youth, training them in ecological, sustainable farming methods. Would you guess that roof top solar panels are one of the things that allow him to sustain and grow his farm?
Power consumption on the farm, especially in the nursery when growing 25,000 plants, is very high during the spring and winter months. Heating the greenhouses in the spring and fall also takes a lot of energy. But Stuart’s hydro costs are net zero. That helps the farm not only stay afloat, but grow.
On the roof of his farm house, Stuart McCall installed 33-300 watt solar panels. With the 10,000 watts they can collectively generate, he can power both his home and his farm, often with a bit extra to spare. Being part of a net metering program means he can sell that extra power, or buy power from the grid when needed. Power generation is highest March – June.
The costs of installation, components, contracts, inspections and hookups was about $41,000 in 2014. This capital cost was recouped by 2020, and maintenance costs are negligible.
“The benefits I experience are numerous! I guess the most important one is the feeling I am helping the environment by reducing my carbon footprint,” Stuart shares. McGrow Farms is a member of the Ecological Farmers of Ontario with a mandate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from farming. “It made sense to install solar power,” Stuart says.