A Manitoba farmer is using the sun’s rays to power his entire home while slashing his monthly hydro bill.
Tim Sawatzky owns a property east of MacGregor, Manitoba and has created the largest ground-mounted solar power system in the province.
“As farmers we rely on the sun to help produce our crops. We are always looking for ways to cut costs, be good to the environment, and produce safe food. What safer way to produce electricity than from the sun?,” says Sawatzky.
Sawatzky’s system includes 80 photovoltaic panels, generating 20.8 kilowatts, enough to power his entire household and cut his net home electricity cost to zero.
The project was delivered by Solar Manitoba, part of Sycamore Energy, a developer of residential, commercial and agricultural solar photovoltaic projects.
A rebate program in place by Manitoba Hydro covered 25 percent of the $67,000 cost to install the system.
“I felt I could limit my future exposure to higher costs and do it in an environmentally sustainable way.”
Sawatsky is a local agricultural producer who grows several crops on 4,500 acres in the rural community east of Brandon with his son and brother.
Justin Phillips, president of Sycamore Energy, says farmers know the value of clean, renewable and affordable energy.
The company has installed close to 100kW of solar power since the launch of the program last April.
“The Manitoba Hydro rebate has put solar power within reach of many producers,” he said.
Another 250kW are making their way through the application process with Manitoba Hydro. The utility offers a rebate of $1,000 per kilowatt on residential and commercial solar power installations.