Indiana farmers see benefits in on-farm solar power for grain storage systems


Emergent Solar Energy, headquartered at Purdue Research Foundation’s Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette, Indiana provides solar solutions to the commercial and industrial, municipal, and agricultural sectors across the Midwest.

The company just placed a 124-kilowatt (KW) ground-mounted solar array on Harlow Farms in Tipton County, Indiana, to help the agricultural operation reduce its carbon footprint and energy costs. It is the largest on-farm solar project in the county.

The clean solar power is offsetting the energy load of 5 finishing barns of the 5600 head hog operation and 230,000 bushel grain storage system.

“Every morning a potential energy source rises over the horizon to the east of my farm,” said Will Harlow, owner of the farm. “It seemed a waste to not harness this daily free energy source, erasing some of what I take from the grid. The solar components’ being made in the United States was also important to me. I hope if any positive comes from this pandemic, it is that we must do what we can to get production of all kinds returning to America.”

This new solar project will supply 90% of the annual electricity needs of their entire farm facility. Additionally, an Indiana species pollinator habitat was planted under the array to aid the local biodiversity of bees and Monarch butterflies, which will eliminate the need to spray and mow, substantially reducing the project maintenance costs.

“Solar power for agricultural applications is becoming more mainstream and for good reason,” said Jeremy Lipinski, managing partner of Emergent Solar. “Induction motors have a high inefficient energy load. Gain storage systems of all sizes use many of these motors in their operation. Solar power can reduce or eliminate this energy cost resulting in compelling economic returns for the farm. This latest project is a great example of how a farm can take advantage of the available solar incentives and become energy independent.”