READING, PA – A new solar array is powering a family-owned turkey farm in the area of Jonestown, Lebanon County, thanks in part to a grant of $21,667 from the Met-Ed / Penelec Sustainable Energy Fund of Berks County Community Foundation.
In addition to taking 39,000 organic turkeys to market every 22 weeks, Werner Acres grows corn, wheat, canola, sorghum, and soybeans on 600 acres.
For a decade, the family had contemplated installing a 220 kW ground‐mounted solar array in a field near the turkey buildings.
In 2019, the farm was ready to proceed when the family felt that – with current grants and incentives and their own income stream/investment – they could achieve close to the seven‐year payback that they were seeking.
The total project cost about a half million dollars. In addition to the grant from the Sustainable Energy Fund, funding came from a Rural Energy for America Program grant, federal tax credits, and the farm’s own investment.
The system is projected to produce 280,000 kWh hours its first year, which is enough to provide power to the farm buildings and several outbuildings/houses on the property.
“It’s certainly been a long process, but the solar array for which we received a Met-Ed Sustainable Energy Fund Grant in 2019 has been completed,” farmer Jeff Werner said. “We were fully operational and began to produce energy on September 30th. Many thanks to your group for helping us fund this worthwhile project.”
Initiatives like this keep our air clean, strengthen the economic viability of this farm, and assure a local supply of food.
The Metropolitan Edison Company Sustainable Energy Fund of Berks County Community Foundation and the Pennsylvania Electric Company Sustainable Energy Fund of the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies distribute money in the form of grants and investments for a variety of projects within the territories originally served by the two electric companies. The two funds share an advisory committee and are known in the singular as the Met-Ed / Penelec Sustainable Energy Fund.
This fund provides grants, loans, and equity investments to promote:
- the development and use of renewable energy and clean energy technologies
- energy conservation and efficiency
- sustainable energy businesses
- and projects that improve the environment in the companies’ service territories, as defined by their relationship to the companies’ transmission and distribution facilities.
For more about the Sustainable Energy Fund, visit here: https://bccf.org/sustainable-energy-fund/