Solar Power and Agriculture

Agricultural areas receive an abundance of sunlight, thus they make fantastic sites for solar power. Masses of unused land is ideal for large solar systems that can off set the burden of a high electricity consumption. Farmers can design agricultural buildings to utilize sunlight rather than using electrical lighting as a light resource. Dairy farms are prime examples of this and make use of electrical lighting all day. Instead they can save money by using well-positioned skylights and solar powered lighting. This is applicable to multiple livestock buildings, which can make use of solar powered lighting by installing solar panels and natural daylight through skylights.


In confined livestock spaces fresh air is critical. A steady supply of fresh air through electrical ventilating systems that maintains animal health can result in large electrical bills. Using solar power heating and cooling systems can overall save fuel and money while keeping the livestock cool or warm during the seasons. Cleaning livestock areas with hot water can again be costly for farms. A low to medium water temperature to clean livestock areas can be provided through solar power water heaters. Again, dairy operations can use the same solar power heated water to warm and stimulate cows udders and clean the equipment.


Using the sun to dry crops is one of the oldest uses of sunlight in agriculture. Traditionally crops were dried outside or on racks in a shed, where they were susceptible to the elements and pests. Using a solar powered drying system within an agricultural building will allow crops to dry faster and evenly. They will also avoid damage from changing weather, as the temperature is constant through the use of a solar powered fan or convection. This will allow farmers to dry crops in any weather condition while saving money and being extremely effective.


The use of greenhouses to grow vegetables or flowers is a common practice, as the core temperature can be maintained and adjusted. The added benefit is that the vegetation is protected from wildlife, weather changes and pollution. Traditionally commercial greenhouses rely on the sun for everyday lighting and oil or gas heaters to maintain a core heat. A solar powered greenhouse that makes use of building materials to store solar power for energy and correct insulation can be more effective.


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