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Farmers begin to adopt onfarm renewable energy production for cost savings

Farmers begin to adopt onfarm renewable energy production for cost savings

Survey results show that solar power is the number one renewable energy used on farms, and farmers are slowly beginning to adapt onfarm product of these energies to save on costs.

While the adoption of renewable energy technologies almost doubled between 2008 and 2011, only about 1.6% of farms produced renewable energy in 2011. But integrating onfarm renewable energy can lead to major cost savings for farmers.

According to a 2009 national survey of renewable energy-producing farm operators, solar energy production is the most prevalent form of onfarm renewable energy, with an estimated 93% of farms with renewable energy generation reporting solar electric or solar thermal-generating capacity. A minority of these farms also produced energy from wind, which is the second most prevalent onfarm renewable fuel source; 17% of farms with renewable energy capacity had wind generation in 2009. A final source of onfarm renewable energy production is methane digesters, which collect and store manure for heat and electricity generation. Farm operations with anaerobic digesters are far less common than those with either wind or solar capacity.

This chart is adapted from a chart (fig. 22) in the ERS report, Agriculture’s Supply and Demand for Energy and Energy Products, EIB-112, May 2013.

Read the release from USDA here.

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