Whether you realize it or not, the first solar panels were not invented by man. The first solar panels can be found in the leaves of each plant we grow on the farm. Each leaf takes the energy of the sun and converts it to food energy for you and me to eat. Without the sun there is no food for you or me.
But now like plants, man has learned how to harness that power for himself. With all the concern about global warming and greenhouse gases, utilization of solar power has become more prevalent than ever before. Common Ground has taken the big step of becoming powered by the sun. Last May we completed installation of a 10,000 watt solar panel system to power the farm.
This was driven by two things. The first was an on-going sense Pat and I have of environmental responsibility. Whatever you may believe about the whole global warming issue it makes simple sense for us to do as little harm to the environment as possible. Within one month of the installation of the system we saw a 75% drop in our use of electricity generated by the local power company.
The also addressed our second reason for installing the system, pure economics. A $300 dollar a month drop in an electric bill means we can have more control over the factors that affect the price of our produce. In the month of June we actual produced more electricity than the farm used. Those savings mean we don't have to pass on the increasing cost of electricity to our customers. It is a win-win situation.
With the help of grants from Duke Power and First Green Bank as well as the federal tax credits the system will have paid for itself in about 30 months. So you can enjoy your fresh local produce even more knowing we have lessened the farms and your carbon foot print and taken another step towards environmentally responsible farming.