South-central Idaho dairy opts for solar power
It took 30 solar panels, but farmer Dan De Kruyf is now a dairy trendsetter.
It took 30 solar panels, but Dan De Kruyf is now a dairy trendsetter.
He’s cut his annual propane use by 134 gallons, and by the end of the year, he will have eliminated almost 30 tons worth of carbon emissions at his Castleford dairy.
“As dairy farmers, our margins are tight,” said De Kruyf, co-owner of Kowz R Us Dairy. “I’m trying to be fiscally responsible and be a good steward of our resources as well.”
Now other dairies are starting to take notice, said Carl Simpson, president of Renewable Energy NW, the company that approached De Kruyf about installing the solar panels.
“They want to do it because of this success at Kowz R Us Dairy,” Simpson said. “We have at least eight other dairies that have expressed interest in setting up a similar project.”
De Kruyf’s solar panels are designed to heat more than 400 gallons of 55-degree well water to 165 degrees. The dairy uses the hot water to sanitize holding tanks and milking areas multiple times a day.
“Energy prices are only going up,” he said. “It doesn’t hurt to diversify where our power comes from.”
The majority of the project was paid through a collection of grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Treasury and Idaho Power. The total amount came to a little more than $53,600.