Funding assistance for farm and ranch energy projects
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Holy Cross Energy initiative yields sales
of 58 passive solar tanks for livestock
The Passive Solar Livestock Tank Sales Event offered by Holy Cross Energy in October 2017 resulted in the sale of 58 tanks to livestock owners in Garfield, Eagle and Pitkin counties.
Local response to the wholesale-pricing offer swamped the manufacturer, Pine Ranch Products of Santa Clara, Utah. The company is expected to complete filling the orders with a delivery of tanks by Dec. 15, 2017.
“We wanted to reach out to our livestock owners and let them know about an energy efficient way of watering livestock,” said Mary Wiener, energy efficiency program administrator for Holy Cross Energy.
Photo by Joey Calabrese,
SunTanks rely on insulation and passive solar heat gain to prevent freezing, even in sub-zero temperatures, eliminating the need for costly electric heating units or the hard work of breaking and shoveling ice.
“We are absolutely astounded at the success of the sales event, by receiving 30 orders for a total of 58 tanks, and we thank all members who participated and made it a huge success,” Wiener said.
In addition to the wholesale pricing for all buyers, at 9 to 14 percent below retail, Holy Cross negotiated for free shipping on the tanks and offered customers a $300 rebate, which cut the total cost of the tanks in half. The sales event was open to all livestock owners in the three counties.
Staff at the Colorado Mountain College Veterinary Technology program noticed the offer and ordered 10 tanks.
“We are replacing 10 electric-heated tanks that were running 24/7 with 10 passive solar tanks,” said Dr. Jeff Myers, director of the CMC Vet Tech program, located on the Spring Valley campus near Glenwood Springs.
The swap helps fulfill CMC’s effort to be environmentally responsible, Myers said, and delivers two other key benefits. It eliminates the need for electric wires inside animal pens, and because the water in the tanks is not directly exposed to sunlight, the system inhibits the growth of algae.
“The tanks will provide a better source of water for our animals, and mean less cleaning for us,” Myers said.
The CMC Vet Tech program has six horses, five cattle, 15 goats, four sheep, four alpaca and one llama, so the tanks will be well used. Other heated watering systems will continue to be used for the programs chickens and ducks.
On Missouri Heights, Denise Henderson said she “couldn’t be happier” with the SunTank purchased for her horse, Summer.
“For me, this is a game changer,” Henderson said. “I used to have to run out 150 feet of electric line, and cover my tank with plywood, and strap it to the tank. This is so great. It fits right under my frost-free pump.”
Henderson said her horse adapted to the SunTank immediately. The 25-gallon size will keep Summer well-watered for two days. The tanks also come in a 40-gallon size.
After a partial delivery of SunTanks by Pine Ranch Products in November, the remaining tanks are expected by mid-December. Customers will be notified once the delivery arrives, and can pick up their tanks at Holy Cross Energy headquarters, 3799 Highway 82 in Glenwood Springs from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday.
Customers, or anyone picking up a tank for someone else, should bring the confirmation letter to be sure they receive the correct tank.
USDA Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) has grants, guaranteed loans and combination grant and guaranteed loans available to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses install renewable energy systems and energy efficiency.
- Agricultural producer (directly and at least 50% of income from operations)
- Rural small business as defined by SBA standards
Eligible project costs
- Post-application purchase and installation of equipment
- Post-application construction or improvements, except residential
- Energy audits or assessments
- Permit and license fees
- Professional service fees, except for application preparation
- Feasibility studies, technical reports, business plans
- Construction of a new energy efficient facility of same size and purpose
- Energy efficiency improvements, as identified in an energy assessment or audit
- Energy efficiency upgrades: minimum $1,500, maximum $250,000
- Renewable energy systems: minimum $2,500, maximum $500,000
- The project must use a pre-commercial or commercially available, and replicable technology.
- The project must have technical merit.
- The applicant must be the owner of the project and control the revenues and expenses of the project. A third party under contract to the owner may also be used to control revenues and expenses and manage the operation and/or maintenance of the project.
Types of projects
- Energy Efficiency: Improvements need to be verified by an energy audit or assessment
- Renewable energy: Bio-energy, Anaerobic Digester, Geothermal, Wind, Solar, Hydro
- Applications may be submitted to any USDA office.
- Applications are accepted any time. Current timing is July 7, 2014
The NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for on-farm energy offers financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers through planning and implementing conservation practices.
Grant amounts: up to $300,000
- Identify ways to conserve energy on the farm through an on-farm energy audit
- Financial and technical assistance to implement recommendation in the energy audit
Eligible applicants must:
- Be an agricultural producer
- Comply with AGI limitation provisions
- Comply with the highly erodable land & wetland conservation requirement
- Develop an NRCS EQIP plan of operations
- Applications accepted on a continuous basis throughout the year.
- Applications are evaluated and ranked based on environmental benefits expected
The Colorado Dept of Agriculture ACRE program, Advancing Colorado’s RE & EE, is focused on:
- Agricultural heating & cooling
- Energy efficiency
- Small-scale hydropower
For more information, contact:
Colorado Dept of Agriculture
ACRE: Advancing Colorado’s RE & EE
The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded a $1.1 million grant to the Colorado Energy Office in April 2016 to help finance energy efficiency improvements for Colorado farmers.
The award comes through USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service's Regional Conservation Partnership Program, and is matched through a $1.3 million cash and in-kind combined contribution from CEO, the Colorado Department of Agriculture and utility and industry partners.
The funds will help finance energy and water saving projects identified through CEO's Colorado Dairy and Irrigation Efficiency Program. Over the two-year grant period, the efficiency improvements are expected to achieve more than 5,250 megawatt-hours of electricity savings and 524,000 gallons of water savings annually, and will provide additional environmental benefits to Colorado's agricultural producers.
"Over the last two years the Colorado Energy Office laid the foundation and identified significant opportunities for cost-effective energy savings in Colorado's agriculture industry,” said Jeff Ackermann, director of the Colorado Energy Office.”Having USDA on-board as a funding partner helps overcome the upfront investment barrier so farmers can affordably build out projects that can provide long-term savings.”
In 2015, CEO launched the Colorado Dairy and Irrigation Efficiency Program to provide agricultural producers free energy audits and technical assistance designed to select and implement cost-effective improvements that will reduce energy, water and operating costs.
To date, 63 producers have participated and 2,800 megawatt-hours of potential electricity savings have been identified through the audits. The program will expand to 200 producers during the next two years and is expected to generate over $4.5 million in potential savings in the next five years.
"This grant will enable the implementation of cost-effective projects identified through Colorado's statewide program, while meeting our goal to integrate energy conservation into agricultural practices," said Clint Evans, state conservationist for the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service.
Colorado's agriculture industry faces direct energy expenses of more than $400 million annually, which accounts for 7 percent of the industry's overall expenses, according to CEO's 2013 Agricultural Energy Market Research Report.
The report identifies 90,000 megawatt-hours of potential electricity savings annually and identifies dairies and irrigators as the most energy intense sectors with the greatest opportunity for savings.
For more information, contact
Colorado Dairy and Irrigation Efficiency Program
U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
EQIP: Environmental Quality Incentives Program for on-farm energy
(970) 945-5494 x103
Colorado Dept of Agriculture
Advancing Colorado’s RE & EE
U.S. Department of Agriculture
REAP: Rural Energy for America Program
(970) 874-5735 x132
Colorado Dairy and Irrigation Efficiency Program
Free energy coaching for Garfield County farmers and ranchers:
Garfield Clean Energy
Hydropower on your
farm or ranch
Holy Cross Energy
2018 rebate for passive solar livestock tanks
50% of purchase cost up to $250, for replacement of electric tank heaters