The WNC Energy Conservation Assistance Program (energyCAP) provides opportunities for renewable energy production and improved energy efficiency for WNC farms and small businesses through:
- Grant funding
- Free site assessments, consultations, and energy audits
- Free grant application assistance
For projects such as:
- Solar PV (water pumping, greenhouse fans, lighting, etc.)
- Solar hot water (pasteurization, processing, etc.)
- Renewable biomass or efficient greenhouse heating
- Lighting improvements
- Ventilation and fans
- Diesel-to-electric conversions
- Wood pellet heating
- Anaerobic digestion of manures
- hydroelectric systems
- and more
WNC energyCAP is a program jointly run by four WNC Resource Conservation and Development Councils.
- Blue Ridge RC&D -Mountain Valleys RC&D
- Southwestern RC&D -Carolina Land and Lakes RC&D
For more information, contact Alex Arnold
828-649-5115, or firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit www.energycap.org
Wind for Schools Program
North Carolina has been selected to participate in the National Wind for Schools program. Mountain Valleys RC&D and Appalachian State University will facilitate the installation of small wind turbines at rural K-12 schools across the state. Installation of the turbines will help schools to offset utility costs and engage students in renewable energy technology. The schools will be installing Skystream 3.7 turbines on 35-70 ft. monopole towers.
The three primary project goals of the Wind for Schools Project are:
- Engage rural school teachers and students in wind energy education.
- Equip college students in wind energy applications and education to provide interested and equipped engineers for the growing U.S. wind industry.
- Introduce wind energy to rural communities, initiating a discussion of wind energy's benefits and challenges.
The Wind for Schools program is sponsored by Wind Powering America, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the Department of Energy.
Renewable Energy for Farms
- Install renewable energy systems on farms in a multi-regional rural area of western NC, covering 22 counties.
- Promote economic development and preserve farms.
- Increase farm income by selling generated power to the electric grid.
- Target farms that have a history of growing Burley Tobacco.
- Support local electricians and installers in the growing field of renewable energy.
- Monitor systems and determine which renewable energy solutions are most efficient. This will help to determine profit based on the investment cost and evaluate the potential that this technology holds for farmers.
- Benefit North Carolina and its electric utilities by providing clean and renewable energy to the electrical grid.
- Assist interested landowners with project feasibility, permitting, interconnection agreements and funding opportunities.
- Continue progress towards natural resource conservation and CO² reduction.
- Provide information to people interested in renewable energy through meetings, workshops and private consulting.
Solar Hot Water for Dairy Farms
Solar water heating dates back to the 1950’s and has been widely used in most countries for many years. Water is heated using solar panels that are fastened to a roof. Water heated by the solar energy is stored in a hot water storage tank. The amount of heat delivered by a solar water heating system depends on local weather patterns. In times of low heat gain a back-up gas or electric booster is used to heat the water. Solar water heating systems are designed to be very low maintenance and survive freezing weather.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has awarded a Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) to Mountain Valleys Resource Conservation & Development to support the installations of solar hot water systems on dairy farms. Dairy farms require large amounts of hot water during the pasteurization and/or equipment cleaning process. The purpose of the ‘Solar Hot Water for Dairy Farms’ project is to demonstrate and evaluate the feasibility of solar water heating systems on dairy farms in order to encourage its adoption in North Carolina.
Several dairy farmers in North Carolina have already taken advantage of the opportunity to use solar to heat pasteurization water. Savings in energy costs are immediately apparent and will continue to compound over the life of the system.
NRCS administers CIGs as a part of the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP). CIGs benefit agricultural producers and consumers by providing more options and possibilities for environmental enhancement. Farmers selected for these demonstrations have to meet eligibility requirements for EQIP.