The farm applied for a commercial grant from Rhode Island Commerce Corporation’s Renewable Energy Fund (REF) in the second funding round of 2014 for a 10kW solar photovoltaic (PV) project. Baby Greens was able to install the system with matching funds from the USDA’s Rural Energy for America (REAP) grant program specifically designed to assist local agricultural producers. By leveraging both grant programs, it was possible for the farm owner to afford an investment in renewable energy.
With the completion of solar project, Kamminga will stabilize his business energy costs and maintain a competitive edge in the marketplace. The installation and inspection were completed in November 2014 by Newport Renewables, with a REF grant of $12,666. The ground-mounted array is located adjacent to one of the greenhouses.
The 10kW project will yield several environmental benefits for the next 25 (or more) years:
The equivalent of 7.4 acres of trees planted
The equivalent of 25,400 gallons of gasoline offset
227 tons of CO2 offset
Reduced dependence on the grid – 300,000 fewer kW consumed from coal, gas and nuclear power plants
Elimination of harmful pollutants emitted into the local air shed
In 2015, Baby Greens plans to purchase an electric delivery vehicle, which will be charged by the solar array, meaning that all deliveries (and produce) will be powered by the sun. The solar PV project blends seamlessly with the goals of the owner by providing clean stable electricity to the farm and its electric delivery vehicle. It had been his vision since the beginning to provide a sustainable farm-to-table service, and, with the help of the renewable energy experts at the Commerce Corporation, the Baby Greens Farm vision is becoming a reality.