MALIN — Harold Hartman has worked the past two years to start up an irrigation solar demonstration project on his 40-acre farm. He is struggling to get the project in place later this year.
Tentative plans call for generating about 30 kilowatt-hours a year from an array of 80 solar panels mounted on a pole. The panels will use a dual tracking system to collect solar energy. Energy from the system won’t be used to power the 40-horsepower pump for his irrigation system, but will be used to offset costs of operating the pump. Pacific Power, which is providing a $30,000 Blue Sky grant to help fund the project, will buy business energy tax credits. The net metering system will go in reverse when the system produces more solar energy than it uses.
“If you’re able to produce as much as you use, the cost is zero,” Hartman said, noting there are installation and other costs. With Oregon irrigators facing ongoing power rate increases — a maximum of 50 percent a year for seven years — the project is intended to show way farmers and ranchers can deal with those rate hikes.
“The unknown,” Hartman said, “ is what do you believe is going to happen to power rates in coming year.”
Information on installation, insurances, incentives and other material related to the system will be available at a future open house. Monitoring meters will show how much power is produced and is used, along with other data.
“This is a demonstration of what’s potentially available, but in anyone’s particular system it may be different,” Hartman said.
— By Lee Juillerat
Solar Tour Planned
An annual Solar Tour Saturday by the Klamath
Solar Association will visit two Klamath Basin
homes and a business that uses solar energy.
The tour will begin at 9 a.m. at the Klamath County Government Center, 305 Main St., with participants driving to three locations.
The tour is sponsored by the Klamath Solar Association, which meets 6 p.m. the second Wednesday of each month at the Klamath County Courthouse meeting room. For information on the group andor tour call 882-9923. The trip is expected to last until about mid-afternoon.