With ample room and an elevated need for electricity, more and more Ohio farms are becoming home to solar energy installations that are helping farmers cut costs and achieve a degree of stability amid fluctuating energy prices, Farm & Dairy reports. Farmers are able to recover "up to 90 percent" of the cost of such a system through a combination of "a 30 percent federal tax credit, depreciation incentives, a solar renewable energy credit, grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Energy Assistance Program, and any pertinent rebates." At 50 kilowatts, one such system in Huron County produces approximately two-thirds of the farm's needs annually. This particular system is "guaranteed for 25 years" with a return on investment "projected to be three to four years," the article said. The future of funding for the USDA program is currently being debated in Congress as part of the federal farm bill (See our Oct 14, 2013, blog post for more information).

On Tuesday, December 10, the Consortium for Energy, Economics & the Environment (CE3) at Ohio University will host a webinar on energy options for Ohio agriculture (See our Dec 5, 2013, blog post for more information). This free, public webinar will feature experts discussing the range of options available to farmers who are interested in reducing their energy costs as well as their emissions footprints.

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