Renewable energy: Solar
Energy for Oregon Farming operations

1) Introduction

Agriculture has evolved since the Stone Age period
where early man used hand tools to do farming to the new era of using modern
tools and technology (Leal-Arcas, & Minas, 2016). In Oregon, farmers are
considered as the stewards of their native land, and it is their responsibility
to conserve and preserve their land’s natural resources for the purpose of the
generations to come. To preserve this heritage for the future generations, they
have to incorporate new technology, and that has escalated energy costs,
creating a huge challenge for Oregon’s producers in balancing profitability and
productivity in land stewardship (Chan, 2006). In recent years, Oregon has been
committed to development of clean energy capitals and gone to an extent of
preparing a decade plan to achieve such goals. Clean energy will aid in
lowering costs and offer a more predictable working environment for all farmers
while at the same time, conserving the natural resources.

This proposal is intended to provide an alternative
source of power to Oregon farmers and scale up their profits to help them
achieve the goal of preserving their resources for the future generations. All
farming operations ranging from planting to crop management, reaping and
distribution rely heavily on the amount of energy input in the operations. Due
to these vast operations, there is an automatic increase in the amount of
energy used and that affects the cost of fuel, electricity and fertilizer
(Wu?stenhagen, & Menichetti, 2012). The central point is the amount of electricity
used in farming operations that it is incorporated in providing power for
lighting, irrigating, processing, ventilation and cooling, just to mention a
few. Oregon has the privilege of abundance of hydro power and that has made
electricity bills to be low in the best parts of United States.  However,




Oregon has been hit with high electricity bills due to
climatic changes and natural catastrophes and that means increased cost of
production to farmers.



2) Rising cost of energy inputs


Between 2002 and 2007, Oregon’s utility, fertilizers
and fuel expenditure jumped to 62 percent as compared to expenses in farming
that rose to 34 percent. The increased cost has made farmers to have a
difficult time in predicting accurately the profits and expenses. Producers on
the other hand, have to constantly commit resources spearheaded to covering the
energy costs needed to uphold all agricultural operations. Despite the
increased costs of energy affecting farmers and producers, they also complicates
the process of deploying on-farm power projects.

Considering the above implications of the rising cost
of energy, especially to farmers, there is the need of incorporating other forms
of renewable energy that will act as auxiliary sources of energy instead of
fully depending on electricity (Ca?rdenas, Hascic, Johnstone, Silva, &
Ferey, 2014). In this proposal, we advocate for the use solar power to generate
electricity use for home appliances and farming operations with the aim of
reducing the energy costs and increasing profits.

Solar power is considered as clean energy that does
not require the burning of fossil fuels which cause pollution. On the other
hand, it cannot be depleted, as long as we have the sun energy will be
produced. The initial cost of this project can be overwhelming while doing it
in large production, but it gives good returns considering that it requires
minimal maintenance once the solar panels have been installed.

you for your consideration. Following soon is a detailed report of the project
proposal on solar power.             









Renewable energy: Solar
Energy for Oregon Farming operations

Table of Contents

1)   Introduction…………………………………………….………………………2

2)   Rising cost of energy inputs……………………………………………4

Solar Power: The
Remedy for Rising Cost ……………………………5       

3.1)Are fossil fuels a challenge? ………………………………..5

3.2) Solar renewable technologies ……………………………..5

      4) Energy storage and off-grid living     ………………………………..8

      5) Financial incentives and project budget ………………………………9

      6) Conclusion
…………………………………………………………… 10

      7) References ……………………………………………………………….12






3) Solar Power: The Remedy for Rising Cost of Production for Oregon Famers

3.1) Are fossil fuels a challenge?

For many years, fossil fuels have
been used to generate electricity and that came with the discovery of coal. Coal
is a mineral that is mined and burned or roasted to produce different types of
fuel such as petroleum and diesel among others. Coal, just like other
non-renewable sources of energy, is depleting with time due to the high demand
of energy connected to the increased number of energy consuming industries
(Harinarayana, Vasavi, & Sharma, 2014). Depletion of coal has led to
increased cost of electricity and increased the production cost and
marginalized the profits. Coming up with an alternative source of power can
bring about predictable results.


3.2) Solar renewable technologies

There different modes of solar power
technologies and this project is focusing on: Solar Photovoltaic and Solar Hot



Solar Photovoltaic

            Figure 1

Solar photovoltaic (PV) are
incorporated to convert sunlight into usable electricity for business use of
home appliances. They are designed in a way that when the sunrays hit the solar
panel array as illustrated in the above diagram (Figure 1). They generate direct
current electricity commonly known as DC power. In this type of connection, the
generated DC power flows to the inverter where it is converted to alternating
current (AC) that is consumable for domestic or industrial use. In cases where
all the electricity generated is not fully used for home



appliances, it is fed to the utility grid through the utility
meter where it can be stepped up for more utility like in industries.



Solar hot water


            Figure 2

This another type of solar power in
that the heat from the sun is used to generate power by the use of solar
panels. The generated power is used to boil water which can be used for several
uses like: driving steam turbines or steam engines. A typical setting the
system is as illustrated in the above diagram (Figure 2). Energy from the solar
panel is directed bypassed through a controller and later to the heating coils
and a pump to the boiler where water is heated to the required


temperature (Boxwell, 2017). All this is done in an enclosed
compartment to avoid energy losses to the atmosphere and to maintain a
continuous heat gradient.


4) Energy storage and
off-grid living

Solar energy is absent during the
night and present in daytime hours. Due to this limitation, there is the need
of having storage elements like the use of batteries to store energy during the
day that is intended for night hours. Such batteries act as back-up plan for
solar energy users in case the grid goes down.

5) Financial incentives and project budget

The initial cost of installation of the
solar system for Oregon farmers can be a considerable and that calls for
investors and government to chip in and provide funds and grants to willing
farmers. The encouraging factor is the low level of maintenance requires for
solar power systems.

Budget of a Sample Solar PV Project

Project name: Renewable energy for Farmers

Developer: Modern Farming

Location: Salem, OR


Project Type: Solar

Project Size: 8 kilowatt solar PV system with an estimate of
9146kWh annually

Project Cost: $48,000

The project is to be financed by the
Oregon Federal tax credit and the Oregon energy department in form of grants
and, a rebate from the energy trust situated in Oregon. The remaining cost will
be self-financed.



Project financing from
external bodies

Federal tax credit                              $14,500

ODOE tax credit                              $10000

Private financing                              $13400

Energy trust of Oregon                     $10100

Total cost                                        $48000


The research for the proposed project
is estimated to last for 3.5 years. In this period, there will be construction
of suitable areas to place the solar panels and security will be a major factor
when selecting the location. Construction and instalment of utility grids and
installation of connecting devices to various farms and homes will take about 2
years. One year will be used to test the power


generated by the system and ensure that it is working
smoothly and in case of any adjustment, this will be the suitable moment. The
final six months will be for commissioning the project and declaring it a worth


6) Conclusion

Solar power energy, as seen in the
project report, gives a cheap and alternative source of power that farmers can
incorporate not only on their farming activities but also in the domestic use.
This does not call for a halt in the production of power by the use of fossil
fuels but provides an alternative of helper in the provision of energy. Many
farmers especially in rural areas see this as a brilliant idea but lack the
capital to initiate the process. There is also the need for investors to take
heed of providing the expertise needed to educate people on how to operate the
machinery designed for solar power to avoid damages or accidents. These are
some the factors that need to be taken into consideration before the project is
completed and commissioned. In conclusion, incorporation of solar energy in
farming is not a project proposed for Oregon farmers but can also be
incorporated in rural areas where electricity is still lacking. Initial
electricity installation can be difficult especially in rural areas where the
geography is harsh


like in valleys or mountain or rocky areas where natural
catastrophes are rampant. This will ensure farmers have access to energy in
lower cost as compared to use of fossil fuels or wind power that is fluctuating
and unreliable.    

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