Striving for Zero Emissions

April 22, 2024– Eight and a half years ago, we installed a 28kW solar energy generation system at Silver Thread. Knowing then what we know now, would we do it again? Absolutely and unequivocally, yes.

During every one of those 8.5 years, 2015 to the present, even in excessively rainy or cloudy years, we have generated more electricity than we use. That means we heat, cool and power our two buildings; run all the equipment to make our wine; and provide electricity back to the grid.

How much extra are we generating? About 4130 kilowatt hours per year, which is similar to the amount we generate during one summer month like June or July. For reference, a typical home uses about 10,000 kwh per year. 4130 kwh is about the amount of energy used to run one of our diesel-powered tractors for a year. A carbon offset-yay!

Long-term Impact

The annual electricity generation of our system averages 32,000 kwh. That’s about the same amount  needed to power three homes. Over the course of 8.5 years, our solar panels have prevented about 80 tons of carbon dioxide from being emitted (assuming we were burning fossil fuels for electricity). How much is that? 80 tons of CO2 is equivalent to the emissions from:

  • 556 gas tank fill-ups of an SUV
  • 26 fill-ups of a typical home heating oil tank
  • 20 fill-ups of a typical home propane tank

Thinking about it another way, we would need to plant around 3,000 trees to offset 80 tons of carbon dioxide. It feels pretty good to know that we are operating our business while helping to slow climate change.

Going Solar Makes Sense

What are some other good reasons to use solar? The panels are nearly maintenance free (we’ve needed a couple of repairs to the software they run on). We haven’t seen a decline in their energy production over time. Once you’ve paid for the panels, the electricity is free!

With a lot of great incentives available for solar installation, we strongly recommend that you consider it for your home or business. Here is a great resource web site from New York State to learn more about going solar. Happy Earth Day!