Record solar powered system at MacGregor farm.
Portage Daily Graphic Posted: February 17th 2017
MacGregor farmer powering home with record solar system Solar Manitoba project is largest ground mount system in the province.
The 80 photovoltaic panels on Tim Sawatzky’s property east of MacGregor, Manitoba make up the largest ground-mounted solar power system in the province approved under Manitoba Hydro’s rebate program for solar power installations.
Sawatsky’s new system will generate 20.8 kilowatts, enough to power his house and cut his net home electricity cost to zero.
“As farmers we rely on the sun to help produce our crops. We are always looking for ways to cut costs, be good to the environment, and produce safe food. What safer way to produce electricity than from the sun?” says Sawatzky.
Sawatzky says he would not have been able to make the switch to solar power for his home without Hydro’s rebate program, which covered 25 per cent of the $67,000 cost to install the system. He knows the investment protects him and his family from possible future increases in electricity rates.
“I felt I could limit my future exposure to higher costs and do it in an environmentally sustainable way,” Sawatsky says.
Sawatsky is a local agricultural producer who grows several crops on 4,500 acres in the rural community east of Brandon with his son and brother.
Justin Phillips, President of Solar Manitoba’s parent company Sycamore Energy, says Manitoba’s agricultural community will reap the benefits of solar power.
“The Manitoba Hydro rebate has put solar power within reach of many producers,” Phillips says. “Farmers know the value of clean, renewable and affordable energy.”
This project is one of several Solar Manitoba has underway in Westman and across Manitoba.