Renewvia's 237.9 kW solar array will reduce Black Farm’s electricity costs by 98 percent. In addition to designing and installing the ground-mounted solar panels, distribution and metering system on the 10-acre poultry farm in Batesburg, SC, a 5,448-person town located approximately 35 miles outside the state Capital, Renewvia also worked with Live Oak Bank and South Carolina Electricity & Gas (SCE&G) on the lease and power purchasing agreement.
“This is a game changer for us,” said Will Black, owner of Black Farms. “Power is by far our highest fixed cost, but thanks to Renewvia, we were able to finance a system that virtually eliminates our energy bill.”
Renewvia worked with Live Oak Bank on the financing for the lease structure. The first of its kind for the bank, which focusses on providing financial solutions to small businesses, this deal will save Black Farms approximately $10,000 a year for the first 10 years. During years 11-30, Black Farms will own the system, effectively zeroing out their electricity bills, and while the farm gets the power savings, the bank is also able to take advantage of the tax credits for solar.
Even though peak electricity consumption for egg producers like Will Black occurs during the hot summer months when Black Farms pays a peak rate of approximately 14 cents per kilowatt hour, his power-hungry breeder complex still averages around 13 cents an hour for the entire year. However, as a result of the egg production cycle, hens only occupy the barns for nine to 10 months a year. This leaves two to three months with very minimal power consumption, but during which Black Farms’ solar panels continue to capture solar energy. Because of Dominion's (formerly SCE&G) net metering program, he is able to push excess electricity back onto the grid. He then receives a credit of 13 cents an hour for any energy generated above what is consumed, which is applied to future energy bills.