Local turkey farm switches to solar

Move saving New Carlisle farm thousands of dollars.

As Bowman and Landes turkey farm gets ready for Thanksgiving this year, it’s bottom line is boosted by a solar panel system that will produce nearly all the electricity the farm uses.

At the New Carlisle turkey farm with about 70,000 free range birds, about a third of their barns are covered with 576 electricity-generating solar panels.

Solar still remains a relatively uncommon method of energy generation in Ohio. About 1.8% of U.S. energy comes from solar, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. In Ohio, less than 0.05 percent of generated energy comes from solar.

Installations have gotten cheaper though in recent years, boosting adoption. Solar Energy Industries Association reported prices have fallen 38% over the last 5 years.

The Sun Lion Energy solar construction crew just finished installing the farm’s third solar system. In the first full year of operation, the system will offset more than $26,000 in the cost of the electricity the farm now purchases from its electric utility, according to Jess Ennis, president of Sun Lion Energy of Hudson, Ohio.

“There’s a quick payback on the investment in this system when you consider those electricity cost savings on top of the strong tax incentives for investing in solar," Ennis said.

Eight years ago, the Bowman and Landes families installed a 50-kilowatt solar power array on the rooftop of a barn. Then, they installed their second system three years later, another 80 kilowatts of solar power.

Now, a year after the farmers built a new power-consuming processing facility at the farm, Sun Lion Energy built the farm’s third solar power installation – a 219-kilowatt system covering the south-sloping roof of a 400-foot-long barn that shelters the turkeys, according to Sun Lion Energy.

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