Here Comes the Sun to New Pond Farm



You may have noticed some construction on the barn roof at New Pond Farm. Solar energy is coming to NPF! And, after a successful installation at Mark Twain Library, Sound Solar(part of the hello, Redding advertising family) has been chosen to do the installation.

Kira Savino, Operations Manager for Sound Solar, told hello, Redding that it will be a roof and ground mount project. The roof project is approximately 14 kW and will offset usage by 17,152 kWh annually. The ground mount is approximately 42 kW and will offset annual usage by 53,265 kWh. The roof panels are approximately 3’x5’ x 1’ and will be placed to maximize sunlight exposure. The ground array will be approximately 40’x60’x6’.

“Both projects are in the beginning stages,” she added. “We are currently installing the racking system for the roof mount and the materials are just arriving for the ground mount.”

The project is being financed by StarPower. Ben Baker is the owner and driving force behind this company that specializes in helping non-profits. Ben credits his interest in solar power to the fervent anti-waste attitudes instilled upon him while growing up during the 1960’s and 70’s, his family embraced the notion of only using what you need to use to accomplish a certain task. Ben sees solar photo-voltaic and solar thermal energy as a logical offshoot of the same way of thinking.

Photovoltaics (using sunlight to produce electric current) provides an elegant conversion of sunlight to energy with no moving parts and no environmental emissions. As the cost of solar panels decreases, the incentives to use solar energy continue to rise.

In an article for the New Pond newsletter, John Campbell, board member, shared, “In keeping with New Pond Farm’s’ mission statement, to connect people to the land that sustains us all, the Board of Directors has decided to generate a portion of its energy needs by installing a photovoltaic system at the farm.”

Star Power takes on the full cost of the installation at the farm and then New Pond will purchase the energy back from StarPower at a negotiated rate. The panels remain the property of StarPower. There will also be small costs for New Pond that will not be covered by Star Power that should be offset from tax credits.

Two barn roofs will receive solar panels, and a ground array will be located adjacent to the existing composting facility.

John Campbell said,”There is a certain smile-provoking symmetry about having photovoltaics positioned next to a shed of cow manure.”

A real- time display of the conversion of sunlight  to electricity will be included in the solar project and can be viewed by visitors to the farm.

Campbell added,”We believe the use of solar energy is a responsible use of technology at New Pond Farm”

If south facing access to the sun is available to you, photovoltaics may be a viable way to reduce your carbon footprint. Contact Sound Solar if you would like to learn more.