Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), a national farmer-owned dairy cooperative, and Third Sun Solar, an Ohio-based, full-service clean energy company serving homeowners, businesses, institutions and government entities across the Midwest, have teamed up to help bring solar panel technology to more DFA member farms.
The partnership will provide members in DFA’s Mideast area with access to project planning, development, support and discounted pricing for on-farm solar power programs. Additionally, Third Sun Solar will assist in identifying incentives that can further supplement the cost of solar technology to DFA members.
“We are seeing a lot of interest in renewable energy as many of our farmers today are looking for ways to save money, increase self-reliance and operate their farms in more environmentally friendly ways,” said David Darr, president of farm services at DFA. “Through this partnership with Third Sun Solar, we hope to make solar technology more mainstream, as the economic and environmental opportunities for farmers are incredibly beneficial.”
DFA member Gary Kibler of Kibler Dairy Farm in Warren, Ohio, recently worked with Third Sun Solar to install 480 solar panels at the family farm. According to Third Sun Solar, the panels will provide 163.2 kW of power, which should mean monthly savings in the thousands for a farm of this size. In fact, the first year alone should provide more than $23,000 in avoided electrical payments that can then be reinvested back into the farm. In turn, this should offset approximately 120 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year.
“Family farms can be the essence of going green, and dairy farms, in particular, are an untapped resource to bring more renewable energy to the heartland,” Michelle Greenfield, Third Sun Solar co-founder, said. “What’s more, panels are far more durable now than 15 or even five years ago. So, with panel prices half of what they used to be, solar is far more attainable for farmers looking to reduce their carbon footprint.”