GFM Network News


Being ‘tied’ into a power grid allows you to sell excess power in summer and buy it back in winter, essentially turning the grid into a “storage battery.” Pictured here is a 170.2-kW project installed by Solar Optix at Oosterhuis/G+C Farms near Bow Island.

The sun still shines on solar energy in rural Alberta

Reading Time: 3 minutes It’s been two years since the provincial government announced its plan to power 30 per cent of Alberta’s electrical grid with renewables by 2030, along with a $5-million commitment to help rural Alberta connect to the solar grid. There’s been good take-up by producers, says the executive director of the Solar Energy Society of Alberta, […] Read more

When the herd is a province away, you need reliable water

Beiseker rancher has solar waterer for 100 cow-calf pairs he grazes across the Saskatchewan border

Reading Time: 2 minutes The phrase ‘remote watering’ takes on a new meaning on Duane Kent’s farm. Kent lives in Beiseker (northeast of Calgary) but also has a four-quarter pasture more than 500 kilometres away in Biggar, Sask. The site has no natural surface water and it would cost $30,000 to bring in electrical power. So he relies on […] Read more


Small ‘tie-in’ solar installations, like this one in Gladstone Valley, 
are popping up across Alberta.

Alberta producers asking big questions about solar power

There’s huge interest in this technology and issues such as payback, 
fixed costs, and government programs are top of mind

Reading Time: 4 minutes There’s no doubt that the government of Alberta is betting big on renewable energy. The goal is to get 30 per cent of Alberta’s electricity needs from renewable energy by 2030, and it earmarked $5.5 million last year to help farms and municipalities develop solar power projects. With that kind of big money comes big […] Read more

Cattle grazer Steve Kenyon and wife Amber Kenyon have gone almost completely off-grid with a solar system purchased on the online classified site Kijiji.

The solar power math is starting to add up

A steep drop in solar prices is giving a new meaning to ‘green’ power — 
and giving Alberta farmers a way to cut energy costs

Reading Time: 6 minutes Cory Nelson isn’t what you might call a ‘tree hugger.’ But the Grassy Lake-area farmer is a businessman, and to him, solar energy just makes good financial sense. “We view it as an investment,” said Nelson, who grows a variety of crops under irrigation on his southern Alberta farm. “Our best math said it was […] Read more


Funding sparks boom in small-scale solar projects

Funding sparks boom in small-scale solar projects

Attractive lease rates for ‘micro-gen’ projects have many farmers thinking 
of doing their own

Reading Time: 2 minutes Although smaller-scale community-organized solar farms have, so far, been left in the lurch, there’s good news for farmers and other rural landowners interested in solar. Growing Forward 2 offers grants of up to $50,000 for ‘micro-gen’ solar projects where the power is used in the production of a primary commodity. That kind of government support […] Read more

Dairy farmer Jordan Schuurman explains the energy-efficient changes he and his parents made to their dairy operation during a government press conference held at his family’s farm.

Province ups funding for energy efficiency projects on farms

Farm groups welcome additional funding but say ‘work 
still needs to be done’ to reduce impact of carbon tax

Reading Time: 3 minutes After installing about 100 solar panels on their dairy barn, the Schuurman family has reduced their energy bill by 60 per cent. And they plan to drive it lower still. “My personal conviction is that I want to be sustainable long term — I believe in climate change, and I have an opportunity to change,” […] Read more


This 9.8-kilowatt system was installed on a farm in Flagstaff County in 2012.

Navigating Alberta’s solar energy boom

Experts weigh in with some best practices for installing solar energy arrays — and getting the job done right

Reading Time: 4 minutes Interest in solar energy on farms and ranches is reaching a fever pitch, thanks in large part to the provincial government’s $5.5-million commitment in February to help farms and municipalities connect solar panels to the electrical grid. And farmers are not the only ones taking notice. With the decline of Alberta’s oil sector, there are […] Read more