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Agricultural Review

Renewable energy options may benefit farm operations

As renewable energy becomes increasingly common throughout the state, opportunities for rural communities to take advantage of renewable energy are growing rapidly.

Energy costs impact the economic operation of agricultural enterprises. By identifying potential renewable energy opportunities, farms may reduce their energy consumption, lower the cost of operation, and improve the economic viability of the business.

The N.C. Solar Center is hosting a webinar titled "Renewable Energy for Agriculture and Rural Small Businesses" Sept. 5 at 3 p.m. to share more about this technology. To reserve your spot, go to

The N.C. Solar Center also offers reduced-cost renewable energy assessments for rural small businesses and agricultural producers. The center can provide this assistance with minimal cost to the end user, generally $450-$550 depending on travel distance required.

The assessments focus on practical ways companies can incorporate renewable energy into their facilities and existing energy systems. Potential renewable energy technologies are: solar energy, photovoltaics (PV), solar hot water, daylighting, transpired walls, biomass (e.g. wood, poultry litter, etc.), digester gas (e.g. swine waste, wastewater, etc.), combined heat and power, wind generation and micro-hydro.

The program is open to ag producers and rural small businesses. Private entities, including sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, co-ops, and electric utilities are eligible. Nonprofit organizations and public entities are not eligible.

Agricultural producers must directly engage in production of agricultural products and at least 50 percent of gross income must be from the agriculture business.

The Solar Center's Renewable Energy Assessments focus on practical ways to incorporate renewable energy into facilities and existing energy systems. The assessment includes a single day trip to the project site to inspect the site and collect technical information needed for developing the feasibility study and making appropriate recommendations.

A report will be prepared detailing the findings of the site assessment. The report will present an assessment of the potential for implementing Renewable Energy technologies, and will include an introduction to the technologies that are deemed to have potential for success at the facility. Each technology will be analyzed for its technical and economic feasibility.

For renewable energy assessments or more information, contact Tommy Cleveland, N.C. Solar Center, at 919-515-9432 or email at


NCDA&CS Public Affairs Division, Andrea Ashby, Director
Mailing Address:1001 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-1001
Physical Address: 2 West Edenton Street, Raleigh NC 27601
Phone: (919) 707-3001; FAX: (919) 733-5047

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