Solar Works for West Virginia Farmers

Solar is a great fit for agricultural producers here in the Mountain State as there is a USDA Rural Energy for America Program grant available in addition to other incentives. While this grant is a competitive opportunity, it can cover up to 25% of the project cost up to $20,000. This current grant has applications due on October 31st, so get in touch with us today using the form below to find if solar is right for your farm.

In addition, you can reduce your business’ energy bills, you have the highest federal tax credit (30% of project cost) plus bonus depreciation (85% of project cost as a deduction), you have a real marketing opportunity for your farm, and you have an economy of scale operating as farm project are typically larger than residential projects.

All of these incentives together can bring the end of the day cost of going solar down by more than half!

Fill out the form below to have Vandalia Energy Services contact you about generating your own clean & local electricity at your farm.

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Here’s why we’re excited about solar on West Virginia farms in 2019:

a) Use Public Funding. The USDA offers Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grants to business owners in rural areas. This grant has a current cycle which can, if approved, provide a grant to the business for up to 25% of the project cost up to $20,000. This grant cycle has a deadline of October 31st and is competitive, so please send us a message to start your conversation early for the best chance of approval. In addition to the October 31st deadline, there will be a March 31st deadline - so if you miss the October deadline, you can still apply for the March deadline.

b) Cut Your Electric Bill by Generating Your Own Electricity. Solar is here. Solar installation jobs can’t be exported. Once your solar panels are installed, your farm will be producing its own electricity for the next 25 plus years. Every kilowatt-hour produced by your solar array will reduce your electric bill by one kilowatt-hour and the value of this production will rise as electric utilities get rate increases. If your electric bill includes demand charges (frequently shown as kW / KVa), we can offer a strategy to measure and then reduce your demand charges as well for a whole bill solution.

c) Lower Your Business Taxes. The federal Investment Tax Credit is the biggest incentive for solar and this tax credit is at its full 30% level until the end of this calendar year. Once 2020 hits, the tax credit is reduced to 26%, which is still strong, and then 22% in 2021. The IRS has issued guidance that commercial solar projects (which includes agricultural producers) can “safe harbor” the full 30% federal tax credit as long as a project is committed to this calendar year with at least 5% of the project paid this calendar year. So - let’s make sure you can use the highest tax credit. In addition, businesses can use bonus depreciation (MACRS) to quickly claim the full depreciation of the solar system. This allows the business to claim 85% of the total system cost as a business tax deduction. We know that many producers are well used to depreciation and while we’re not tax experts (and we always advise talking with a tax professional) we strive to make sure every incentive is used.

d) Differentiate Your Business. It is so important to provide your buyers the full sense of the value they’re getting. Incorporating solar into your farm will allow you to include a label such as “powered by solar” or similar phrase into your marketing. In addition, if you use a website for your farm, you can incorporate a page showing at least a photo and description of your array (we can help with that) and, if you’d like, a public monitoring page showing your potential buyers how much electricity has been produced by your array that day (we can help with that too).

e) Economy of Scale. In our work with West Virginia farmers, we have seen large barn rooftops with useful roof structures to hold a large solar array. In addition, and we know every foot of land is valuable, we have seen spare ground for ground-mounted solar to provide electricity for the farm. As your solar array gets larger, the cost for each installed panel drops while your solar electricity generation rises. You can generate more electricity for cheaper as your array gets larger.

We love solar and we love local agricultural producers. Get in touch with us and we would be happy to provide a no-cost, no-commitment proposal that shows your farm’s solar potential.