Alvin Haskett started farming in 1965 and quickly realized that managing energy use wisely has a huge impact on the bottom line of his operation. Since 2008, the family owns and operates Circle H Farms, which is very much a “family affair between my dad, my son, and myself,” Alvin’s son Greg Haskett points out. “Staying economically sustainable for such a long period of time has much to do with tuning in to what’s environmentally sustainable and good for the land which we farm.”
Besides smart investments in energy efficiency features, timers, and lighting, the family wanted to do more to manage their resources in a most economical way, and discovered the barn roof as one of their biggest, yet underutilized assets. Now 400 high-efficiency Strathcona Energy International solar modules are soaking up the sun with a 150 kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) rooftop system at the family-owned Haskett Farms in Napanee, Ontario.
The Hasketts are selling the generated electricity back to the grid under Ontario’s IESO 20-year Feed-in-Tariff (FiT).
“The solar panels allow us to add revenue to our operations by using what’s already there—giving our barn roof a hole new meaning as clean power plant,” Alvin Haskett smiles as he looks up to the panels. “PV is clean, safe, quiet, and good for the environment and us.”
The SEI solar modules were manufactured at the SEI production plant in Belleville, just 30 miles (47 kilometers) west of the Haskett’s farming operations and installed by SEI sister company Strathcona Solar Initiatives, keeping the carbon footprint involved in bringing the array online to a minimum.
The Hasketts plan on using the revenue from the approximately 142,500 kilowatt hours produced annually to reinvest into their operations and to increase the efficiency of their equipment. “The solar system really acts as another form of cash crop for us,” comments Greg Haskett—but one that will use significantly less maintenance and care.
“It has been a privilege for us to work with the Haskett family in developing the solar solution that is most optimal for their farming operations,” says Karl Hollett, the CEO of Strathcona Energy International. “The high-yielding solar system allows the Hasketts to lock in a predictable and reliable revenue stream for decades, and it’s wonderful to see what a tremendous impact solar energy makes on the agricultural sector, as well as on the environment.”