In The Press

We made the evening news (Be patient with the advertising, the video is worth it):

Thank you to Maine Rural Partners and their encouragement!
Here's their
"Inspire ME"  article:

Sankofa Farm Solar Powered Irrigation

  • Nathaniel Chism and family members at Sankofa Farm in Beddington.

  • Consitent with their desire for self-sufficiency and commitment to environmental stewardship, the Chism family, owners of Sankofa Farm in Beddington has installed solar panels to power it's irrigation system.

Sankofa Farm is an agricultural education center and local farming business in Beddington Maine, between Bangor and Calais. They harvest over 60 varieties of greens, fruits and root vegetables which they make available through their CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. 

When owner Nathaniel Chism purchased the farm in 2008, he made the decision to install a solar powered irrigation system for the couple of acres under cultivation. He chose solar power for several reasons; recognizing that electricity is vital to modern farming, he wanted to ensure a consistent supply of electricity and water in the inevitable event of power outages. He also wanted a green, sustainable source of power that reflected his desire to be a steward of the environment. And, as an educator, he valued the opportunity a solar system provided to teach about the benefits, and challenges of alternative energy. 

While he has been studying solar power for many years and knows that there are systems that are fairly simple to install, he felt strongly that it was necessary to hire a professional to install his system. So he researched and hired a reputable contractor from Dover Foxcroft, Lee Goggins, who built and installed 12 solar panels which generate between 2 and 2.5 kWh of electricity, enough to power his irrigation system. 

Nathaniel admits that his decision to install solar panels was motivated more by his desire to be self-sufficient and environmentally responsible than by financial considerations. He has calculated that the system will pay for itself in 15 to 18 years.

Project recommended: Maybe, it depends.

Nathaniel recognizes that because of the up-front cost, solar power is not an option for everyone. He believes that farmers thinking about solar powered irrigation systems should consider several factors, including their cost of energy, their own philosophy about green energy, the viability of the site for solar, the cost of the system, and the aesthetic impact.