In Oregon, where organically grown food is almost a given, solar power for farms seems a natural extension of the sustainability ethic. Throw in a handful of government programs that encourage solar – including one opening up and another that might be ending – and that’s enough to mount a solar-power marketing campaign aimed specifically at agriculture.
The company is Synchro Solar, which said it would help solar-curious farmers take advantage of bulk pricing while receiving technical assistance in applying for the upcoming Oregon Feed-in-Tariff program. The company noted, as well, that the state’s Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC) fades to black at the end of June, barring action by the legislature, lending additional urgency to the promotion.
Under the Oregon Feed-in-Tariff program, guaranteed payments are available to Portland General Electric, Pacific Power and Idaho Power customers who supply the utilities with electricity sourced from solar systems. The next reservation period is April 1, and Synchro Solar touted its ability to provide guidance in tackling the paperwork necessary for the limited, first-come, first-served program. In previous rounds, feed-in-tariff program reservations were snapped up within minutes.
The company also noted that funding could be available under the federal government’s Section 1603 cash grant program and under an accelerated depreciation programs that allows the cost of a renewable energy project to be written off in a single year instead of over five years.
Agricultural uses of solar power are some of the fastest to bring a return on the investment.
Whether your electricity bill is high because of irrigation pumps, cold storage, powering various outbuildings or warming lamps for young livestock solar can help decrease your power bill. In addition to being a great investment in your farm, solar power also means:
- Energy independence
- Control over rising energy bills
- Reduction in your tax liability
In addition to the variety of incentives that every Oregonian is eligible to receive, as a rural business owner you may also be eligible to apply for the USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grant. The USDA provides matching grants for rural small businesses and agricultural produces for the purchase and installation of renewable energy systems. REAP Grants can cover up to 25% of eligible renewable energy costs