SunCommon has announced its participation in the “Low Carbon Dairy” pilot program with Ben & Jerry’s to support Vermont dairy farms. The multi-faceted program offers many different approaches to improving dairy farm sustainability including going solar. One of those farms is the 70+ cow Four Girls Dairy farm in Fairfax, Vermont (named after the owner’s four daughters).
“Our goal is to make it easy for Vermont farmers to go solar,” said James Moore, co-founder at SunCommon and president at iSun. “With Ben & Jerry’s program, we can offer Vermont’s dairy farmers solar options and remove the financial barrier to entry into the renewable energy infrastructure. And we can ensure that Vermont’s dairy farms continue to thrive and remain the integral part of the sustainable food system that they are.”
Four Girls Dairy engaged SunCommon to install a 72-kW roof-mounted solar system on its main dairy barn, where the milking parlor, feed stall and offices are located.
The project was made possible by a financing program that SunCommon manages with SunWealth, a clean energy investment firm, and a grant from Ben & Jerry’s. Farmers benefit from a fully funded solar installation with no upfront costs. They then reap the rewards of their solar — offsetting almost all of their electricity usage and receiving credits on their utility bills.
“I always wanted to power the farm with renewable energy,” said Peter Rainville, who took over ownership and management of the farm in 2000 when it was passed down by a family member. “I also wanted to do enough to run the entire farm, but it wasn’t feasible. When the opportunity came from Ben & Jerry’s to work with SunCommon, it was possible.”
To date, SunCommon has worked with 75 farmers in Vermont and New York on solar energy projects.
News item from SunCommon