Mount Fair Farm is a family-owned historic estate in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, just outside of Charlottesville, Virginia. Contained within the 1,112 acres is an equestrian facility, with a large timber-frame indoor riding arena. On the south-eastern roof of the arena sits a solar array, consisting of 396 solar panels, quietly and cleanly producing renewable energy. On the back side of the arena are nine inverters. The 110-kW array is expected to produce the majority of the farm’s energy for the main house, guest, house, greenhouse, riding arena, manager’s house, woodshop, and farm shop.
Much of Mount Fair Farm is held in conservation and owners John and Dudley Macfarlane place a high priority on sustainable practices and organic methods. Producing solar energy on-site is part of their vision for their land, and results in a net reduction in CO2 emissions, benefiting the environment on the whole. The array will be productive for many decades, and as a one-time cost for energy, it is a sound financial investment given rising electric rates. The Mount Fair Farm system is a net-metered system, which means that energy not needed on-site is fed back to the power company for credit.
John Macfarlane remarked, “we are extremely pleased with the final result. We are able to monitor the system remotely and see just how much energy we are producing, and the resultant environmental impacts.”
The system was designed and installed by Bryan Walsh of Solar Connexion, one of the earliest and most experienced solar contractors in the region. “One of our primary goals with any system is to design and install to maximize efficiency and the Mount Fair system has exceeded production estimates. We enjoyed working with the Macfarlanes because they understand, as we do, that the details make the difference in aesthetics, functionality, and reliability,” he said.
News item from Solar Connexion