In late June Fairwinds Farm was the site of a first for Maine: the installation of a Series 20 dual-axis AllSun Solar Tracker.
The tracker is mounted with 20x 240 watt solar electric panels, for a production rate of 4.8KW – however, the incredible performance increase by the tracking system improves its performance by 30-40% compared to a fixed array of the same size. A motor driven by GPS is installed in the solar tracker, allowing the unit to follow the sun east-to-west and up-and-down throughout the day.
The more than $1,300 worth of electricity will be put to good use at the farm, where it will cover 100% of all of Fairwind Farm’s electricity needs, and have some capacity to power a new electric car: a 1974 restored VW Sun Buggy. Farm Owner Dave Knightly has been restoring VWs for years, when he heard he could convert his “Sun Buggy” to run on solar electricity, he know what he had to do!
The Lewiston Sun Journal spoke a bit about the project:
“We’re trying to be environmentally responsible,” said [farm owner Dave] Knightly, a Spanish teacher at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School. He operates a strawberry picking business with his wife and children, Liz and Benji, during the summer.
The solar power will replace the oil-powered hot-water heater and back up the wood stove heat in the house, Knightly said. He has a vegetable-oil-fueled Mercedes and is working on a 1974 Volkswagen Beetle that will run on electricity.
The solar energy projects offers another step of environmental responsibility for the farm, which already has a biodiesel Mercedes, low-spray pesticide application, and a recycling plan. “It’s just another piece of the puzzle,” Knightly added. “Customers come and see the solar array and think: hey, I can do this too.”
Visit ReVision Energy for more photos of the solar tracker.