LOCATION: Madison, Wisconsin | CAPACITY: 5.18 kW | COMPLETION DATE: August 2023
Troy Farm is an urban training and production farm located in Madison and operated by the nonprofit organization Rooted, WI, Inc. Rooted’s programs are devoted to increasing equitable access to land, fresh food, and learning opportunities in Madison and throughout Dane County.
Troy Farm grows approximately 3 acres of vegetables and herbs on 5 acres of the property. The farm operated for nearly two decades without electricity at the farm.
Although unable to have a cooler onsite to store produce, they were able to make use of a walk-in cooler where the organization’s administrative offices were located. In 2018, the organization had to move its offices and Troy Farm lost access to the walk-in cooler.
They realized that they needed an onsite cooler and determined that solar would be the most economical and environmentally friendly option for an energy supply.
Rooted determined that an off-grid solar PV system would be the most economical and environmentally friendly option for an energy supply. Although the new installation was a major upgrade to farm efficiencies, it soon became clear that the system’s capacity was undersized for the farm’s needs. They decided to apply to a variety of funders to support the addition of a new array.
Rooted reports: Legacy Solar Co-op helped us think our project through at different steps in the process. Peter Fiala created a presentation describing our project and its impacts and reviewed various contractors’ proposed quotes and scopes of work with us. He was generally supportive when our project was stalled first by the pandemic, and then by pandemic-related supply chain disruptions and delays. Peter also estimated the possible direct pay rebate from the federal government under the terms of the Inflation Reduction Act.
They decided on a 5.2kW, 14-panel solar array on ground-mounted racking, with accompanying lithium backup batteries in an insulated trailer. The array is grid-tied to MGE.
The solar array was commissioned in August 2023. Between their original solar array and the new array installed this year, Rooted is now able to meet all of Troy Farm’s energy needs, powering the produce cooler and season-extending high tunnel greenhouse heater.
Paul Huber of Rooted reports: To finally have all of our electricity needs met through a renewable energy source makes our farm crew’s work so much easier, as well as meeting our organization’s sustainability goals. We’d tell an organization similar to ours that a solar array project is well worth the effort, but that it’s important to have support from technical experts like the ones at Legacy Solar Co-op. It’s important to be patient with the ins and outs of a project like this–and to try not to launch a project when a worldwide pandemic is going to create schedule and supply chain disruptions!
“Legacy Solar Co-op was very helpful to us in every aspect of Troy Farm’s solar array project. We highly recommend joining the Co-op when you’re ready to start your own solar project.” ~ Paul Huber
Photos courtesy of Rooted, WI, Inc
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