Organic poultry farm in Hartly opts for solar

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File photo of solar installation from Paradise Energy.

A Delaware organic poultry farm has gone solar.

“As you can imagine, our electric bills are rather costly, especially during the summer months,” said Katharine Parry, part owner of the Parry Poultry Farm, an 80-acre farm raising organic chickens in Hartly.

The Parrys were looking for a way to offset energy costs and turned to solar. “We were initially attracted to the cost savings associated with solar panels,” Parry says.

Partnering with Lancaster County, PA-based Paradise Energy Solutions, the Parrys installed their 832-panel (274.56 kilowatt) solar system. In the first year, the system will save $41,398 in electricity costs. In less than six years, the system will have contributed enough electricity savings to pay for itself, the solar installer noted

The upfront cost associated can be a deterrent. However, the 30 percent federal tax credit and tax savings on depreciation covered 61.2 percent of installation costs at the Hartly Farm.

The Parrys also took advantage of the Delaware Sustainable Energy Program, which offers the loan needed to install the project at an attractive interest rate.

Paradise Energy Solutions worked with the Parrys to secure the loan.

While solar panels help offset high energy costs, the Parrys also discovered an additional benefit. “We raise organic chickens and have fenced pasture areas that the birds can graze in when the temperatures allow.”

Taking this into account, Paradise Energy Solutions worked with the Parrys to design a ground-mounted system. The several arrays, suspended a few feet above the ground, provide a cool place during warmer months for chickens in their pasture areas, increasing the amount of time for grazing.

“This system has not only reduced our carbon footprint, but doubles as shade to the birds from the sun.”

The solar system will have offset 266 tons of carbon dioxie and 561 barrels of oil.

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