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New Generation Energy: Sustainable Power for Your Farm or Homestead

Join us online for a webinar series of farmer-led virtual tours and fun, informational tips for saving energy and converting to renewables on your farm or homestead!

A Bergey Excel 10kW wind turbine installed at Cross Island Farm, NY

Are your farm energy bills on the rise – and are you wondering what you can do to reduce them?  Are you looking for more sustainable sources of energy?  This four-part online webinar series will provide examples of energy conservation measures, solar arrays, wind turbines, compost heat, and a variety of other ecological production techniques and introduce you to farmers and professionals who are successfully harnessing the power of renewable resources to produce affordable, sustainable energy.  Tune in to learn if solar, wind, geothermal, and even compost power are right for you!

This lunchtime webinar series will run from noon-12:45pm every Friday from March 29th through April 19th.  All of the webinars are free and open to the public.  To sign up, please complete and submit our New Generation Energy Webinar Sign-Up form.   You will receive an email approximately one week before your chosen webinar(s) providing a link and instructions for you to access the series.

We will be using WebEx to host this webinar series.  To use WebEx, all you will need are functioning speakers  (a sound card in your computer) and a good Internet connection – a cable modem or DSL are preferable, but dial-up, mobile wireless, and satellite Internet connections can also work.  If you have any questions about the Internet or hardware requirements necessary to use WebEx, please contact Hannah Koski at

This webinar series is sponsored by NE SARE (Northeast Sustainable Ag Research and Education) and the Cornell Small Farms Program.  To learn about funding opportunities available from NE SARE, visit  To learn more about small farm resources and support, visit

March 29: Dreaming of Local Lemons – Solar Energy Virtual Tour.  Noon – 12:45pm
with Leo Siemion of Summit Naturals Organic Farm, Summit, NY

Leo Siemion of Summit Naturals Organic Farm will give a virtual photo tour of the sustainable energy features on his 25-acre organic farm.  The farm produces 11 varieties of garlic in raised fields, eggs from heritage Buff Orpington breed chickens, and bottled honey, comb honey and beeswax candles from 12 bee colonies.  Leo and his farm crew have spent the past several years raising approximately 450 pond-bred Koi fish for retail sale.  Their 60×21 foot high tunnel is double walled plastic and excess solar heat is circulated through 250 feet of corrugated pipe 2 feet underground.  The active solar heating system allows Summit Naturals to grow greens throughout the winter.  Their smaller glass greenhouse attached on the south side of the family home has 520 feet of corrugated pipe, 5 feet underground which runs through an insulated stone pit and radiates back up through the concrete floor.  Leo has been able to produce tropical fruits such as oranges, lemons, pineapples and figs in this greenhouse.  In addition, they have two pole mounted solar arrays totaling 10-kW and an evacuated tube solar hot water system. The farm has acquired a restored 40 year old GE Electrak electric tractor to use the excess electricity they now produce and reduce diesel fuel needs.

April 5: Powering Your Farm Off the Grid – Virtual Tour. Noon – 12:45pm
with Raymond Luhrman of Fox Creek Farm, Schoharie, NY

Is it possible to operate a farm off-the-grid, and what are the challenges and opportunities? Raymond Luhrman will take us on a virtual tour of Fox Creek Farm and describe how his family operates their 350 member CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) operation from electricity produced right on site. The Lurhman’s have installed two 1.3 kW solar arrays and a Bergey XL1 wind turbine on a 100 foot tower.  Raymond will describe how he sited, sized, funded and installed these systems.  He’ll also present some additional energy conservation features of the farm, including the passive solar barn, and the CoolBot regulator that makes his walk-in cooler extra energy efficient. Aside from these technical aspects, he will also share thoughts on the challenges and opportunities that come with off-grid farming.

April 12: Compost Power! Noon – 12:45pm
with Sam Gorton, Compost Power, Systems Engineer and Design Consultant

Composting is a sustainable process for transforming farm wastes into a stable soil amendment. But, did you know that an active compost pile may be able to generate enough heat to keep your greenhouse warm in the wintertime, offset your water heating fuel needs or even heat a small-scale biogas digester? Composting is a sustainable process for transforming farm wastes into a stable soil amendment. But, did you know that an active compost pile may be able to generate enough heat to keep your greenhouse warm in the wintertime, offset your water heating fuel needs or even heat a small-scale biogas digester?  Sam Gorton, a PhD student at the University of Vermont (Burlington, VT) and co-founder of the Compost Power Network (Waitsfield, VT) will describe strategies to power your home, greenhouse or barn on the heat produced from high-Carbon compost recipes.

April 19: Ask an Installer: Wind, Solar and Geothermal. Noon – 12:45pm
with Conor Kays, Alternative Power Solutions

Energy prices are rising, and who knows where they will be in 10 or 20 years.  Investing in renewable energy now can turn a variable cost into a fixed one over the life of the system.  Conor Kays from Alternative Power Solutions of NY will talk about how to choose between geothermal, solar or wind (or all three), how to size a system, current financial incentives and offsets, and services that installers will provide.


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