Troy Farm Solar Array

Powering Troy Farm’s future

Troy Farm has two solar arrays, the first installed in 2019 and the second installed in 2023. Together these solar panels provide for all of Troy Farm’s electricity needs, and even contribute energy back to the municipal electrical grid.

From 2001-2019, Troy Farm operated without electricity on site–a challenge to everyday farm operations. In 2019, the off-grid solar array we installed generated 4.35 kilowatts (kW) of electricity. It soon became clear that the array was undersized for the farm’s full energy needs and that remaining off-grid was unreliable. Between 2020 and 2022, Rooted was awarded three grants toward the second array. Our thanks to the following funders:

With this funding, Rooted invested in a new 5.2 kW solar array and connected the farm to the local power grid. Full Spectrum Solar and Beeline Electric performed the installation. Once the project was completed, it also earned a financial incentive from Focus on Energy.

Together, the two solar arrays can generate an average of 13,100 kW hours per year. The electricity is used to power the pumps for the well and irrigation system, the greenhouse and germination chamber heaters and fans, the produce coolers, and other farm tools and appliances. The system also includes lithium backup batteries, so Troy Farm would have the power needed to maintain this equipment during a power outage.

The farm uses a lot of electricity during the growing season but relatively little over the winter. Being connected to the grid allows us to draw additional power when we need it and sell back excess electricity generated by the panels in the off-season, resulting in a net-zero electricity bill. This means that over the course of the year the combined solar arrays can now meet all of Troy Farm’s electricity needs with renewable energy!

Having reliable electricity on site brings an added benefit: it allows us to make this resource available to our growing partners on the land. Troy Farm provides growing space to Sei and Melissa Kidau of Youth Empowerment Initiatives, Yusuf Bin Rella of TradeRoots, Kim Fruin of FarmHer Greens, members of Occupy Madison, and the Troy Composting Project. The new solar array benefits everyone growing at Troy!

To learn more about Troy Farm and the solar installation, watch the short video and the Facebook Live information session below. Our thanks to longtime Rooted friend, Steve Ventura, for producing the video; and to Rooted Education Director, Sarah Karlson, and Rooted Troy Farm Director, Paul Huber, for coordinating the information session. We also thank Peter Fiala of Legacy Solar Co-op for technical assistance and advice throughout the project.

Thank you to our partners & funders

Acknowledgment: “This material is based upon work supported by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, Office of Energy Innovation and the Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), under the State Energy Program Award Number DE-EE0000163.”

Disclaimer: “This report was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States Government. Neither the United States Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government or any agency thereof. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government or any agency thereof.”

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