CSU offers free solar assessments for animal feeding operations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Colorado State University’s Rural Energy Center is offering free solar energy assessments for Colorado animal feeding operations. The assessments will provide feedlots and diversified farms that include livestock with estimated system sizes, costs, savings and other information needed to decide whether investing in a solar array is a sound investment. Solar systems could be installed on buildings, open space, or even as shade structures over open feedlots. The solar arrays to be evaluated would be tied into the grid and used to offset the electricity costs of pumping water, lighting, ventilation or other agricultural uses.
The timing of the project is driven by a few factors. Costs for solar panels have decreased by 75 percent in the last five years. The 30 percent federal tax credit for solar will be reduced after 2019. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, the sponsor of the project, offers 25 percent grants for the installation of renewable energy systems by agricultural producers. In addition, the Colorado Department of Agriculture has also agreed to provide funding for solar PV project in agriculture that show the promise of being cost-effective. Applications from operations with at least one meter on a small commercial or equivalent utility rate are particularly encouraged, as energy prices tend to be relatively high on these rates.
CSU is accepting applications on an ongoing basis up to a limit of 30. Applicants must receive 51 percent or more of their gross receipts from agriculture. Visitto submit the short application. Cary Weiner, CSU Rural Energy Center director, can be contacted with questions: or (970) 491-3784.
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Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is expected to sign SB 21-87, known as the Farm Workers Bill of Rights, though much of the content will be decided through the rulemaking process.