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Harvesting the sun

By Staff | Aug 19, 2020

-Farm News photo by Kriss Nelson Iowa?Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Naig, far left, listens as farm owner, Phillip Dorr describes their new solar system at one of their six hog sites. Joining in the conversation is Griffin Dooling, president of Blue Horizon Energy and U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst.

By KRISS NELSON

editor@farm-news.com

MARCUS -During her 99 County Tour of Iowa, U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst took part in a groundbreaking of a solar installation at the Marcus Meriden Cleghorn and Remsen Union School District’s high school and a visit to an existing solar project at the Dorr Family Hog Farm. Ernst was joined for the events by Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig.

“It is absolutely remarkable and I want to commend Marcus and the school district and the Dorrs for being so engaged in renewable energy,” said Ernst. “Right now, Iowa consumes about 2 percent of its electric as solar. As we see that broadened, I am just glad to know that we have folks engaging in that direction.”

While visiting the Dorr Family Hog Farm, you could see solar panels, wind turbines and in the landscape an ethanol plant – all showing how renewable energy is very prevalent near the Cherokee County area surrounding Marcus.

“We are harvesting the sun in different ways in that field right out there. We feed that into ethanol plants and biodiesel plants and here we are harvesting the sun a little more directly, but, this is just part of that whole renewable energy portfolio,” said Naig.

“It is so great. Iowa is really leading the waywith our renewables,” said Ernst. “Where we do consume so much of our electric from our wind turbines here, and now we see more solar and course then in our renewable fuels. It is just pretty remarkable for a state to be able to cover so many different avenues of sustainable energy,”

Both solar projects were designed and installed by Blue Horizon Energy. These investments are supported by the Federal Investment Tax Credit for Renewables program and applied for the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Grant Program.

“There are different tax credits that are available both though the state and the federal government, so there’s an investment tax credit that you will see,” said Ernst. “It’s the same type of thing for wind production and so forth. We are trying to be very supportive of these renewable energies where we can and are collaborating with the state with some of their initiatives that make this a lot more affordable for people to do.”

Solar projects also benefit more than just the project’s owner.

“It’s great for rural America too,” said Ernst. “Not just solar, but wind energy the tax income that comes from those types of production efforts really benefits our rural school districts, rural communities and is really a win-win for everyone that is involved.”

Dorr Family Hog Farm

In 2019, Blue Horizon Energy installed six solar energy systems on the Dorr Famiuly Hog Farm.

These systems were designed with American-made components to replace approximately 95% of the annual energy consumption from their six hog confinement facilities.

“These panels that were installed on this site they come from New York State. They are American made. It’s an American product,” said Ernst. “It costs a little more upfront than products from Chinese competitors, but in the long run, they last longer, they’ll produce more energy than what you’ll find coming from China and the benefit, of course is that it is an American made product. You know who you are dealing with. You can get it repaired if anything would happen, and it is American jobs.”

Griffin Dooling, president of Blue Horizon Energy said it is expected the Dorr family will break even on their sites in about six years. In the meantime, according to EPA data, the reduction in yearly energy use from the solar installation at their six sites are equivalent to:

– 609,184 pounds of coal burned

– 71,054,325 smart phones charged

– Taking 118 vehicles off the road for a year

– Powering the electricity in 97 homes for one year

Phillip Dorr, who along with his broth Kurt Dorr own Dorr Family Hog Farm said solar is something they have considered installing for several years now, but the price was finally right.

“The cost didn’t work before when we looked into it five years ago,” he said. “It just didn’t work out then. But, this last year, the energy costs keep going up and we finally did the analysis again and it made sense. Their costs came down and with the tax credit it worked.”

The process, Dorr said, thanks to Blue Horizon Energy was a simple one.

“When we signed the contract with these folks, they took over and did everything,” he said. “They dealt with the utility companies. I had nothing else to do with it. Their work is top notch, they are great people. I live out of state, I come back to Marcus often, but I do live in Austin, Texas.”

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Harvesting the sun

By Staff | Aug 19, 2020

-Farm News photo by Kriss Nelson Iowa?Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Naig, far left, listens as farm owner, Phillip Dorr describes their new solar system at one of their six hog sites. Joining in the conversation is Griffin Dooling, president of Blue Horizon Energy and U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst.

By KRISS NELSON

editor@farm-news.com

MARCUS -During her 99 County Tour of Iowa, U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst took part in a groundbreaking of a solar installation at the Marcus Meriden Cleghorn and Remsen Union School District’s high school and a visit to an existing solar project at the Dorr Family Hog Farm. Ernst was joined for the events by Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig.

“It is absolutely remarkable and I want to commend Marcus and the school district and the Dorrs for being so engaged in renewable energy,” said Ernst. “Right now, Iowa consumes about 2 percent of its electric as solar. As we see that broadened, I am just glad to know that we have folks engaging in that direction.”

While visiting the Dorr Family Hog Farm, you could see solar panels, wind turbines and in the landscape an ethanol plant – all showing how renewable energy is very prevalent near the Cherokee County area surrounding Marcus.

“We are harvesting the sun in different ways in that field right out there. We feed that into ethanol plants and biodiesel plants and here we are harvesting the sun a little more directly, but, this is just part of that whole renewable energy portfolio,” said Naig.

“It is so great. Iowa is really leading the waywith our renewables,” said Ernst. “Where we do consume so much of our electric from our wind turbines here, and now we see more solar and course then in our renewable fuels. It is just pretty remarkable for a state to be able to cover so many different avenues of sustainable energy,”

Both solar projects were designed and installed by Blue Horizon Energy. These investments are supported by the Federal Investment Tax Credit for Renewables program and applied for the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Grant Program.

“There are different tax credits that are available both though the state and the federal government, so there’s an investment tax credit that you will see,” said Ernst. “It’s the same type of thing for wind production and so forth. We are trying to be very supportive of these renewable energies where we can and are collaborating with the state with some of their initiatives that make this a lot more affordable for people to do.”

Solar projects also benefit more than just the project’s owner.

“It’s great for rural America too,” said Ernst. “Not just solar, but wind energy the tax income that comes from those types of production efforts really benefits our rural school districts, rural communities and is really a win-win for everyone that is involved.”

Dorr Family Hog Farm

In 2019, Blue Horizon Energy installed six solar energy systems on the Dorr Famiuly Hog Farm.

These systems were designed with American-made components to replace approximately 95% of the annual energy consumption from their six hog confinement facilities.

“These panels that were installed on this site they come from New York State. They are American made. It’s an American product,” said Ernst. “It costs a little more upfront than products from Chinese competitors, but in the long run, they last longer, they’ll produce more energy than what you’ll find coming from China and the benefit, of course is that it is an American made product. You know who you are dealing with. You can get it repaired if anything would happen, and it is American jobs.”

Griffin Dooling, president of Blue Horizon Energy said it is expected the Dorr family will break even on their sites in about six years. In the meantime, according to EPA data, the reduction in yearly energy use from the solar installation at their six sites are equivalent to:

– 609,184 pounds of coal burned

– 71,054,325 smart phones charged

– Taking 118 vehicles off the road for a year

– Powering the electricity in 97 homes for one year

Phillip Dorr, who along with his broth Kurt Dorr own Dorr Family Hog Farm said solar is something they have considered installing for several years now, but the price was finally right.

“The cost didn’t work before when we looked into it five years ago,” he said. “It just didn’t work out then. But, this last year, the energy costs keep going up and we finally did the analysis again and it made sense. Their costs came down and with the tax credit it worked.”

The process, Dorr said, thanks to Blue Horizon Energy was a simple one.

“When we signed the contract with these folks, they took over and did everything,” he said. “They dealt with the utility companies. I had nothing else to do with it. Their work is top notch, they are great people. I live out of state, I come back to Marcus often, but I do live in Austin, Texas.”

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