Solar Energy at a Charlotte Area Sheep Farm
The Montgomery Sheep Farm, in Biscoe, North Carolina, became the first off-grid farm in North Carolina by installing solar and energy storage in 2017. The micro-distribution grid uses solar and batteries to power the farmhouse, lodge and cabin; both lamb barns; workshops; and other farm buildings.
Five kilowatts (KW) of solar panels were installed on the lodge’s roof and 20KW on a solar carport which also protects the farm equipment.
The 28-megawatt (MW), ground-mounted solar array on 123 acres of the farm generates enough electricity to power 3,000 homes annually. All this electricity is delivered to the Town substation which distributes the power to the homes, schools and businesses in Biscoe during daylight hours.
The farm’s grid provides power to the farm facilities totaling 25 KW of solar installed and 53 kWh of energy storage.
Overall, the microgrid, which saves about $500 each month in electricity, generates more than 100 percent of the energy required to run the farm. For about half a year, the microgrid powers all the farm operations and even exports power back to the grid. During the winter months, some power is imported from it.
For proper installation, all power for the farm had to be located at one central point to form the micro-distribution grid. Two delivery points from it were combined into one; all power lines from the various facilities on the farm were put underground.
The public, in groups of up to eight, can book a stay at the Montgomery Sheep Farm cabin through Airbnb. Also, twice a year, the Montgomery Sheep Farm hosts a farm tour, including learning about its sustainable practices, including a farm to table lamb dinner. The next dinner is on November 5. For more information, visit www.MontgomerySheepFarm.com/events.
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