‘Sol Food’: Solar energy powers Community Farm, Feeds the Hungry
Jamestown Community Farm operated 100% with solar power; Clean energy used for field irrigation and food refrigeration
Newport (Rhode Island), July 05, 2012-The Jamestown Community Farm has been an ambitious project from the very beginning. Its 17 acres are picturesquely spread out across the eastern shore of Jamestown and are laden with rows of beans, squash, tomatoes, herbs, and fruit.
When Bob and Lynda Sutton founded the Community Farm in 2000, their goal was to grow healthy, wholesome food for those in need.
Today, the organization has grown into a vital volunteer organization that donates fresh vegetables, fruit, and dairy products from the Farm to food pantries and soup kitchens from Providence to Newport. During the summer months, volunteers also operate a fruit stand where locals can find pesticide-free produce fresh from the vine or out of the fertile island soil.
Last year the group of volunteer farmers decided to take their commitment to sustainable farming practices to a whole new level: they applied for a renewable energy grant, approached a local solar installer, and were determined to grow all food with absolutely zero carbon emissions. Generating electricity through a solar PV-array (photovoltaic) was another way for the Jamestown Community Farm to give back to the community as well as to nature. Michael Cabral and Stuart Flanagan, the owners of Newport Renewables were im
mediately impressed with the concept and agreed to install the solar panels on a pro bono basis. “Having both grown up in Jamestown, Mike and I jumped at the opportunity to assist the farm with its sustainability project,” said Stuart Flanagan of Newport Renewables. “The farm is now producing all of its own energy, and saving money on electricity every month. The farm manager Bob Sutton should expect to never pay an electric bill again!”
Back in the spring, Cabral and Flanagan secured 16 premium-efficiency solar modules on a ground mount in the middle of the farm. The DC-electricity created from photons in the modules is transformed via an inverter into AC-electricity and used to power a water pump, the farm’s irrigation system, and several appliances including the refrigeration for dairy products.
Now generating 100% of their electricity needs themselves, Jamestown Community Farm has not received an electricity bill ever since the 3.52 kW system was commissioned and can actually expect to see a nice return on their investment due to the long lifespan (30+ years) of the modules.
“Our company applauds this extremely inspiring project,” congratulates the CEO and President of MAGE SOLAR Joe Thomas, the company that provided the solar modules and the mounting system. “When community spirit and sustainability come together in an application like this, clean energy is so much more than the bottom line or business revenue: it becomes a humanitarian act.”
Currently, the solar array is performing at 112% of its rated capacity and has already generated 1.6 Mega Watt hours of electricity. More than one ton of harmful carbon dioxide emissions have been offset this way, which will be plenty to grow new veggies and fruit in much cleaner air.
Photo Caption: From left to right: Michael Cabral (Newport Renewables), Bob Sutton (Jamestown Community Farm), and Stuart Flanagan (Newport Renewables) in front of the 3.52 kW system with three of the farm’s “winged residents”. The solar PV-installation provides 100% of the farm’s electricity needs, including powering the water pumps and refrigeration. © Newport Renewables. We would appreciate sample copies of any reprints.
MAGE SOLAR- The Sun on Your Side MAGE SOLAR USA, headquartered in Dublin, Georgia, specializes in complete solar systems and provides high-quality photovoltaic modules, intelligent mounting systems and high-performance brand inverters. As a subsidiary of the international MAGE GROUP, it uses the Group’s 40 years of know-how to develop optimally coordinated system solutions. A competent partner network guarantees profitable solar energy systems for customers throughout the Americas and in 21 more countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. In 2011, the company generated U$280 in sales with around 180 employees.
Newport Renewables, located in Newport, Rhode Island, specializes in the design and integration of systems utilizing solar electric, solar thermal, wind power, and geothermal technologies. Newport Renewables serves as an EPC contractor to residential and commercial home and business owners in the Northeastern US and US Virgin Islands.
http://www.nptre.com 38 Washington Square Newport, RI 02840 401.619.5906 ###