Sugarmaker taps solar technology to make green syrup

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Sugarmaker taps solar technology to make green syrup

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 5:50am -- tim

The ancestors to Burr Morse and his son Tom at Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks of East Montpelier, Vermont learned their trade from the Native Americas as they settled Central Vermont. Today, the eighth generation farm is tapping a 21st Century technology to support their maple sugaring operation.  The farm recently installed a 30kW solar tracking system, which will produce more than 45,000 kWh of electricity per year. The new project will cover nearly 100 percent of the farm’s electric demand.

“We just wanted to do the right thing,” said seventh generation sugar maker, Burr Morse.  “Of course we are conscious of the environment and, being maple sugarmakers, more in touch with the weather than any other type of farmer. Although maple sugaring has not been adversely affected by climate change yet, we want to be ahead of the curve on installing more efficient, environmentally sound, and cost affective equipment.  Most of our customers like seeing the trackers out front and there are definite cost advantages to us.”

The solar orchard consists of 6 pole-mounted dual-axis AllSun Trackers, which use GPS and wireless technology to follow the sun throughout the day, boosting energy production by up to 45 percent over rooftop installations.  The solar trackers are designed and manufactured locally, less than 40 miles away, by AllEarthRenewables of Williston.

“We’re excited to be supplying solar energy to Morse Farm with this project.  They understand first-hand the impact of our energy choices on our climate and the future economy of our state.  It’s a win-win where they can make both a financially sound decision and a sustainable decision as they produce such a great product in the best of Vermont traditions,” said David Blittersdorf, President and CEO of AllEarth Renewables.

Morse Farm welcomes 60,000 visitors each year to the farm and recently opened up a Nordic ski area on their nearly 160 acres and another 150 acres that belong to neighbors.  In 2013 their maple creemees were selected as one of the top 50 ice cream treats in America by Food Network Magazine and Yankee Magazine this spring chose Morse Farm maple creemees as the "Best in New England."

PHOTO: Six solar trackers mounted with 20 solar panels each power the electric needs of Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks in East Montpelier, Vermont.

Source: AllEarth June 16, 2014