Working With Nature-Harvesting Energy and Using it Wisely:
In December 2008 we installed and activated 84 photovoltaic solar panels to create a 14.2 KW array. Our goal was to provide up to half of our total energy needs from the sun. Our system is a grid-tied system meaning that excess energy that we produce is sent back to the electric grid offsetting the need for our supplier, Portland General Electric, to produce and transmit as much electricity as they did before our system was installed.
We are producing about 20 megawatts of electricity each year with the system. For ten years we have looked seriously at the advantages of wind power to augment our solar generation, especially in the winter months. Currently, the incentives are not good enough to make it pencil out. We will continue to study the situation. There are some very interesting vertical wind turbines that would fit our site and take advantage of the good wind profile that we have.
In the meantime, we have looked for other ways to use less energy. We looked long and hard for an electric utility vehicle that we could use to replace much of our diesel tractor use. What we found was a Stealth Electric 4 X 4. Though the company is no longer in business, they made a great vehicle and is Marion’s favorite farm tool.