Solar arrays

Sunshine helps crops grow. And at a farm in southeastern Arkansas, the sun also powers the facility that dries and stores grains after they’re harvested.

A.J. Hood manages Tillar and Company. He says the farm grows a lot of rice, which is dried using electric fans. So to reduce electricity costs, he decided to have solar panels installed at the farm.

Hood: “We started by looking at the numbers and the more we looked, the more we realized that this is something economically feasible for growers in Arkansas.”

Federal grants and tax credits reduced the farm’s up-front investment. But Hood says the real advantage was making his electric bill more predictable.

Hood: “We want to know what input costs we’re going to pay year-in and year-out.”

The solar installation was recently completed. Hood says it takes up less than two acres of land. And yet it now offsets 100% of the grain storage facility’s power.

He expects that will save the farm 30 to 35 thousand dollars a year, and make the farm’s grain business more profitable.

Hood: “I would highly encourage any grower, no matter the size, to explore solar. The financial aspect of it just makes sense.”

Reporting credit: Elizabeth Logiudice/ChavoBart Digital Media.