Project Type: Solar Rooftop
Applicant: Donna and Harold Feddema
Grants Awarded: $50,000
Project Size: 250 kW
Status: Project Complete and Commissioned
Donna and Harold Feddema haven’t stopped receiving knocks at their door since they put up a large solar installation on their southerly-oriented chicken barn rooftops. Residents from all over the Grimbsy area want to know how the Feddema’s became solar electricity generators when they pass by the 250 kW system on their chicken barns. The system is earning them a second revenue stream for the farm, guaranteed for 20 years.
It started when Mr. Feddema learned about Ontario’s Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) program at a horse auction. He returned home and began investigating whether the FIT program could make it financially viable for his relatively small chicken farm to generate green electricity. Donna joined the effort and made it her full-time job to manage the solar project from the farm, doing everything from sourcing local contractors to finding financing for the project.
The Feddema’s credit the Community Energy Partnerships Program with making it possible to get started. CEPP is a program instituted by the Province of Ontario, delivered by the Ontario Power Authority. “CEPP was very helpful to us. It gave us some breathing room to make good decisions about the project without risking everything.” CEPP staff were also helpful according to Donna in supporting her and answering many questions through the initial stages of development. The Feddema’s were able to secure a bank loan for equipment and other costs. They plan on hosting an open house in the fall to celebrate the commissioning with the local farm community.
Donna and Harold’s vision for capturing the sun’s potential hasn’t stopped with the FedSol solar project. The Feddema’s are now looking to their greenhouse rooftops to determine the feasibility of converting to low light bedding plants, a technology proven successful in Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. “We’d convert to starting trees and something more slow growing.” The Feddema’s plan to visit a number of greenhouse solar project sites this summer to learn more about an opportunity they’ve coined “Homesun.”
The interest and excitement from the local community has encouraged the Feddema’s to look for new opportunities to “green” their farm. Donna commented that the options for farm expansion weren’t all positive “[o]ut in the country when a farmer adds something, it usually smells. With solar panels it doesn’t impact anyone in a negative way.” Donna and her daughter plan to promote the benefits of solar energy throughout the local community. The Feddema’s see great potential for projects like her own in Ontario to help farmers earn a reliable income while greening their farms.
This project has received funding support from the Ontario Power Authority through the Community Energy Partnerships Program. Such support does not indicate endorsement by the Ontario Power Authority or the Province of Ontario of the contents of this material. The views expressed in the material are the views of the Recipient and do not necessarily reflect those of the Ontario Power Authority or the Province of Ontario.