Mass. Farm Energy Program – July Newsletter

There’s lots going on in the Massachusetts Farm Energy world. Read the July Newsletter!

Mass. Farm Energy Program — May Newsletter

There’s lots going on in the Massachusetts Farm Energy world. Read the May Newsletter!

Solar Thermal on Farms Workshops Inspire Action

Gerry Palano with MDAR addresses the workshop.

Gerry Palano with MDAR addresses the workshop held in Amherst on March 27.

Solar Thermal on Farms workshops coordinated by the Massachusetts Farm Energy Program (MFEP) on March 27 and April 2 brought together a diverse group of agriculturists that included dairy, vegetable, fruit and livestock farmers. The atmosphere of the workshops was positive and upbeat, with all of the attendees enthusiastic to learn about solar thermal technologies, applications for farms and funding opportunities to install systems.

Gerry Palano, Alternative Energy Specialist with Massachusetts Dept. of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), began the workshop with an overview of solar thermal systems and their components, highlighting the benefits and drawbacks of different systems for varying applications like radiant heating or for heating the soil in a greenhouse. Next, Peter McPhee, Program Director of Renewable Thermal Technologies at Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), provided an overview of funding opportunities available through MassCEC to develop and install solar thermal technologies on farms. To end the workshop, Nancy Nylen, Director of MFEP, led a joint discussion with Gerry and Peter that focused on how farmers can move forward with obtaining funding and installing solar thermal systems.

The most exciting aspect of the workshops, held in Amherst and Wareham to reach farmers statewide, is that they were interactive, with attendees asking questions and communicating why they were interested in solar thermal systems for their farms. Many of the farmers expressed that the main reason for their interest and attendance was to off-set the cost of conventional fuels for heating and hot water. In addition, attendees stated that the installation of renewable energy technologies is a tangible method of exhibiting to customers their intentions to care for the environment and operate more sustainably. When explaining why he wanted to install solar thermal at his livestock operation, Matt LeClerc of Valley View Farm stated, “We can get a bond with our customers, just by installing technologies like solar thermal.” All of the workshop administrators are enthusiastic that many of the attendees will move forward with assessing and potentially installing solar thermal systems on their farms, and we look forward to following the progress of these operations!

The Massachusetts Farm Energy Program (MFEP) is a partnership between the Center for EcoTechnology and the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR). The workshops were conducted in collaboration with the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) with funding from the USDA Rural Business Enterprise and Massachusetts NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant programs.

Workshop: Solar Thermal on Farms

Hosted by the Massachusetts Farm Energy Program

Evacuated tube solar thermal system at Appleton Farms, a property of The Trustees of Reservations in Ipswich, MA

Evacuated tube solar thermal system at Appleton Farms, a property of The Trustees of Reservations in Ipswich, MA

Come learn about solar thermal technologies, applications and benefits for your farm, as well as funding opportunities!

Two locations:

March 27, 9:30am – 12:30pm
Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (Click Link for Directions)
101 University Drive, Suite C4, Amherst

Or

April 2, 9:30am – 12:30pm
UMass Cranberry Experiment Station (Click Link for Directions)
1 State Bog Road, East Wareham

Presenters: Gerry Palano, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and Peter McPhee, Massachusetts Clean Energy Center
Topics: Solar thermal technologies, applications for your farm and funding opportunities.

To pre-register or receive further information, please contact Megan Denardo at 413-727-3090 or megan.denardo@cetonline.org

Mass. Farm Energy Program – March Newsletter

There’s lots going on in the Massachusetts Farm Energy world. Read the March Newsletter!

REAP Grants Available for Farmers: Deadlines in April and June

The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) provides financial assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase, install, and construct renewable energy systems, and make energy efficiency improvements to non-residential buildings and facilities.

REAP recently announced two deadlines for their annual renewable energy and energy efficiency grant and loan guaranty program. One for April 30, 2015, for projects requesting $20,000 or less, and one for June 30, 2015, for all project sizes. Guaranteed Loan Only Requests are funded monthly and may be submitted at any time.

Learn more about these grants and apply!

Grant Information and Writing Workshops for Farmers

Photo by Jess Cook

Photo by Jess Cook

Interested in grants for energy efficiency and renewable energy for your farm? The Massachusetts Farm Energy Program is conducting information sessions about the Rural Energy in America Program (REAP) this month. Please let us know if you are interested in attending – or have any other questions about solar power for your farm.

We hope to see you there! To pre-register or receive further information, please contact Megan Denardo at the Massachusetts Farm Energy Program (MFEP) at 413-727-3090 or megan.denardo@cetonline.org

REAP Information Session and Grant Writing Workshops:

  • February 11 (snow date February 12) – 10 am-3 pm, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, 101 University Drive Suite C4, Amherst, MA 01002
  • February 18 (snow date February 19) – 10 am-3 pm, UMass Cranberry Station, 1 State Bog Road, East Wareham,  MA 02538

Anne Correia of the U.S. Department of Agriculture will lead a two-part information session about the REAP grant and loan programs at MDAR’s Amherst office on February 11, and another at the UMass Cranberry Station Library/Conference Room in East Wareham on February 18. REAP recently announced two deadlines for REAP’s annual renewable energy and energy efficiency grant and loan guaranty program, one for April 30, 2015 one for June 30, 2015. All grant requests of $20,000 or less need to apply by the April 30, 2015 deadline. These information sessions intend to educate farmers, project developers and grant writers about REAP’s offerings and application process which has recently changed.

Agenda:

Part 1 – Information Session: 10 am – 12 pm. An overview of REAP grant guidelines and application requirements for farms, developers and grant writers interested in applying for assistance with installing energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements.

Part 2 – Grant Writing Workshop: 1-3 pm. Training to enable interested individuals and organizations to provide REAP grant-writing services for farms.