Powering Michigan Agriculture Webinar - Black Star Farms

Webinar features the impacts of on-farm solar power and energy efficiency practices.

There is a great deal of energy efficiency and renewable energy expertise in the Michigan farming community. Extracting that expertise and making it available to farmers who can use it is the purpose of the Powering Michigan Agriculture webinar series. Webinar participants will hear farmers talk about how they achieved energy reduction and savings through the various energy efficiency and renewable energy practices they implemented and lessons learned from their energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Case studies for each farm will be available to each participant.

The first farm to be showcased is Black Star Farms on Thursday, January 25. The webinar starts at noon. Black Star Farms is a unique wine and culinary destination located near Suttons Bay, Michigan that includes a luxury inn, event spaces, a farm-to-table cafe, a distillery, and an equestrian facility. Over 300 acres of grapes are carefully crafted into award-winning wine. The winery itself is a co-op owned by five different partners and sells 30,000 – 35,000 cases of wine every year. The farm also maintains a qualified forest management program and some agro-tourism through their petting zoo.

Black Star Farms solar energy project was a fixed, ground-mounted 53 kW solar array. The system was designed to offset 90 percent of annual energy usage for the nearby wine tasting room. The farm also implemented energy efficiency practices such as converting luminaires to LEDs and installing high efficiency boilers in their winery.

Some of the topics that will be discussed during the webinar include the farm’s net metering arrangement, the impact on farm profitability from the renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, and their experience in conducting an energy audit.

There is no registration fee due to generous financial support from the Michigan Energy Office. Registration information can be found at http://tinyurl.com/PoweringMIAg. Registration ends at midnight Thursday, February 7, 2018. Questions about the webinar can be addressed by calling Charles Gould at 616-994-4547 or by email at gouldm@msu.edu

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