The largest poultry farm solar installation in Virginia is currently being installed at Rivermont Farm in Timberville, Virginia. The 173.6 kW (kilowatt) ground-mount solar installation consists of five hundred sixty 310 watt solar panels and covers just under 100% of the farms electric usage.
“The main reason I decided to install a solar system was to reduce my tax liability but also it felt good to participate in a renewable energy source. There is no waste, no emissions and no negative impact on the environment,” said David Hughes, owner of Rivermont Farm. “With the reduction in coal production, reducing our dependence on foreign oil and the uncertainty of nuclear energy, solar looks very inviting as an energy source. There is no negative impact, sunshine is free, the cost is coming down compared with 10 years ago and no more electric bills. Everyone should be looking at solar.” The solar system is unique in that the farm has received permission from the utility company to utilize aggregate net metering. Aggregate net metering allows the solar system to feed into one electric meter while still offsetting multiple electric meters on the property even when the meters are not physically connected. This is the largest solar installation installed in 2016 and is the seventh largest privately owned solar system in Virginia.
When asked why other farmers should look into solar energy Hughes said, “Each operation is different but they should look at their electrical usage and the cost of going solar. They should look at their return on investment, the tax benefits, depreciation and long term electric bill savings. For me it was a “no brainer”