Thanks to all of our faithful customers who endured the mud and disruption associated with construction of the new barn and photovoltaic system. We had a great team of contractors, mild weather, and now our beautiful hay barn and solar electrical generation system are complete. Even on cloudy days, our electric meter spins backwards! I can’t wait to get our next CVPS electric bill to see how much the system is saving us in energy costs.
 
The 42kW PV system converts solar energy into electricity. There are approximately 160 solar panels on the south facing side of the roof of the new 48’ by 100’ barn located near the entrance to our home and farm store. The entire project is part of our drive to become more sustainable and to maximize fuel and energy efficiency. The PV system is sized to meet 95% of the electrical needs of our farm and home. It is a wonderful compliment to the solar hot water system on the barn roof that pre-heats hot water for washing the milking system. The barn will also enable us to purchase and store more of our dairy hay in the summer at lower cost.

I find it ironic that the current downturn in the world economy was a large factor in the decision to forge ahead with our plan. The price of solar panels dropped 40% due to oversupply and reduced demand, and long-term interest rates are very low. It was the ‘perfect storm’ that made our dream possible. Add a large federal grant and Vermont clean energy incentive, and it was a done deal. With our annual electric bill of approximately $9,500, we expect the system to pay for itself in 10 years, and then all of our electricity will be free!
 
Next time you are at the farm, please check out the “net meter” located on the corner of the barn. I hope you will get as much of a thrill as I do watching the utility meter go backwards.
 
On the farm produce side, we have two very nice market ready grass-fed steers ready for the freezer. We are excited about the Devon genetics that we have been using the past three years, and the proof is in the eating. The beef is well marbled, tender and flavorful. And of course, they have never been fed genetically modified grains (actually, no grain whatsoever), so the beef is about as healthy as there is. We will be replenishing our inventory of ground beef which literally flies out of the freezer, and would like to make available eight ‘beef shares’. That means the steer would be equally distributed to eight families, and will include ground beef, steaks and roasts. A ‘beef share’ yields about 40 to 50 pounds of frozen packaged beef. The cost is $7.00/pound wrapped and frozen, so the total will be about $300 to $350. Is anyone interested? If so, please email us or call ASAP. Please pass the word, too.
 
Till next week,
Rich,
for the Larson Farm crew.