Solar Energy Production on the Farm

Our Solar Journey

Using solar energy has been a lifelong pursuit for us.  When we first moved to the farm in 1973, one of our first projects was a passive solar greenhouse.  Solar energy production was not really a thing back then but as the technology developed, our interest grew.  In 2009 we made the leap to our own installation.  Here is how it happened.

Solar array before panels - Missdee's French Alpine Dairy Goats

In the beginning....

In late 2008, we decided to go ahead with the installation of a 4.8 kW ground mounted, grid-tied array and contracted with Adundant Solar in Corvallis to do the work.  It was a fledging industry and had to work with the State as they developed the rules around this technology.  The site was in our pasture, just east of the goat barn. This photo shows the concrete support pillars (required by the State at that time) and the trench to the electrical service in our pump house.  Let the fun begin.

First solar panels installed - Missdee's French Alpine Dairy Goats

First panels installed

We opted for a ground mount system with a manual tilt adjustment.  This would allow capturing maximum solar radiation with 2 or 3 adjustments during the year.  The ground mount had the added benefits of being easy to keep clean and more efficiency due to increased air flow around the array. The panels (24 x 200w) were mounted in 2 rows on aluminum rails.  This photo shows the first panels installed.

Most solar panels installed - Missdee's French Alpine Dairy Goats

Most of the panels installed

With 2/3 of the panels installed, the array was really taking shape.  Work progressed quickly.

All solar panels installed - Missdee's French Alpine Dairy Goats

All panels installed

All panels installed finally on a sunny day.  Still not connected to the grid, but it's getting closer.

Solar array electrical components - Missdee's French Alpine Dairy Goats

The business end

Here is a view of the original solar inverter and other electrical components.  What we really like about solar is that there are no moving parts.  Looking forward to many years of electrical production from the sun.

First solar production - Missdee's French Alpine Dairy Goats

Solar array production goes live

Recorded the first production registered on the solar array meter.  We had to have a new "digital net meter" installed by the power company at the house to account for electricity flowing back into the grid on over production, sunny days.  Net metering is the difference between what flow from the grid and what flows into the grid.  We only pay for the difference.

Solar array on a sunny day - Missdee's French Alpine Dairy GoatsS

Solar array posing on a sunny day

The solar array is alway photogenic when clean on a sunny day.  You can see my Davis weather station on the far end of the array.

Solar array and goats - Missdee's French Alpine Dairy Goats

Solar array and goats

Of course this is still Missdee's French Alpine Dairy Goats.