New solar panels grab light from above and below

Potential solution towards balance between crop growth and electricity generation capabilities

Reading Time: 2 minutes Electricity is a major expense for Canadian greenhouse growers. At the same time, large greenhouse facilities offer potential to produce renewable solar energy — but the challenge to date has been how to do that without impacting the growth and productivity of the crop inside. A potential solution from Ontario solar panel manufacturer Heliene is […] Read more

Greenhouses keep growing in Ontario, meaning greater energy demands.

New energy efficiency funding program available for greenhouses

Electrical agency issues targeted call for proposals

Reading Time: 3 minutes The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) is looking to help fund energy-efficiency measures at Ontario greenhouses through a specialized call for proposals under its existing Grid Innovation Fund. The arms-length Crown corporation responsible for Ontario’s electricity market recently published a new “Greenhouse Energy Profile Study,” which included the call for proposals. Why it matters: This […] Read more

The biodigester at Harcolm Farms.

Mini-biodigester offers big output for Ontario dairy farm

Ontario’s only mini-biodigester has been operating for more than a year and has changed how Harcolm Farms manages manure

Reading Time: 3 minutes After about 18 months of operation, Ontario’s one and only mini-digester is going strong. It’s situated at Harcolm Farms near Beachville, Ont., and owned by dairy farmers Rob and Rachel McKinlay. Minis are a fraction of the cost of a full-sized digester (there are more than 40 here in Ontario) and require much simpler permitting. […] Read more

FCC to offer flexibility in hurricane-battered areas

Reading Time: 2 minutes Farm Credit Canada says it plans to help its farmer clients in Atlantic Canada work around financial pressures following Hurricane Dorian’s passage through the region over the weekend. “We won’t know the full extent of damage for some time, but we’ve already heard that some customers will likely be facing some financial hardship as a […] Read more

Farmers and electrical contractors investigating for stray voltage need to know what they are looking for, otherwise much time and expense can be wasted.

Knowledge gaps, infrastructure costs perpetuate stray voltage issues

The problem has existed for decades and continues to cause problems on Ontario farms

Reading Time: 3 minutes The devastating impact of stray voltage on farms has been well documented, but determining its true source can often be a long, painful process for farmers and electric utilities alike. Indeed, the immense cost to utility companies of reconfiguring electricity grids — as well as gaps in knowledge on the part of farmers and contractors […] Read more

Chris Lee, right, built a passive energy house and Rob McKinlay built an anaerobic digester system on his dairy farm.

Debating rural energy efficiency

Alternative energy users discuss how local solutions can be good for rural economies

Reading Time: 3 minutes Residents of rural Ontario are creating new energy efficient solutions, whether or not government is involved. Farmers, rural residents and planners talked about rural environmental sustainability at the recent Rural Talks to Rural (R2R) Conference put on by the Centre for Rural Creativity in Blyth. At Rob McKinlay’s farm in Oxford County, his small 20 […] Read more

Solar panels and windmills proliferated under the Liberal Green Energy Act, but with little local decision-making control.

Ontario axes Green Energy Act, leaving some wondering what’s next

South West Oxford mayor suggests that storage continues to be the biggest stumbling block to allowing the renewable energy sector to continue growing without government support

Reading Time: 3 minutes In a widely anticipated move, the Ontario government has repealed the province’s Green Energy Act. Why it matters: Since the Green Energy Act was introduced in 2009, thousands of Ontario farmers have added small-scale renewable energy generation projects to their properties. Most are used as an additional source of revenue. Sweaburg-area farmer and South West […] Read more

Wouter van Leeuwen oriented his solar panels so they would have peak energy production at the same time as peak energy prices.

Renewables can help reduce electricity costs — in some cases

Reading Time: 2 minutes For producers with less seasonally-concentrated energy demands and easier access to higher-demand grid infrastructure, renewable energy technologies like solar panels and biodigestors can significantly reduce or eliminate energy costs. Small scale biodigestion Robert McKinlay, a dairy farmer from Oxford County, incorporated a “microdigestor” to process the manure generated by his 90-cow dairy herd. The 20-kilowatt […] Read more

At Ken and Kyle DeCorte’s farm they use a natural gas generator, housed in a shipping container, when their grain drying and aerating is at full capacity.

Getting a jump on the power grid

Expensive electricity and inflexible utilities mean more farmers are generating their own power on the farm

Reading Time: 4 minutes Grain drying is a necessary and expensive evil for Ontario farmers. It’s so expensive, in fact, that grain producers are increasingly offsetting their electricity expenses with on-farm, off-grid energy production — largely with fossil-fuel driven generators. Why it matters: High electricity prices, especially prices that fluctuate higher during times of high demand are a challenge […] Read more

Ontario power utilities offer farm water pump rebate

Reading Time: 2 minutes Ontario farmers buying certain types of high-efficiency water pumping systems for irrigation, horticulture or stock watering could now be up for rebates. Hydro One and Niagara Peninsula Energy (NPEI) on Friday announced the AgriPump rebate program, which the two electricity utilities described as the first plan of its kind in the province. For farmer customers […] Read more