Scottsville, NY (WROC) - For more than 200 years, the Stokoe family has been farming the land in Scottsville. Known for their Christmas trees and pumpkins, they are now looking to harvest a new crop... the sun.
"It fits in with our farm and family philosophy of going green and taking care of the environment," explained Suzanne Stokoe. "It's the great gift of the land that we have here."
Rochester Solar Technologies installed 74 solar panels on the roof of their barn and restroom. It's all part of a 20 kilowatt system. The decision was made to use green energy when the farms energy bills skyrocketed.
"We were switched to an on-demand metering, which really almost tripled our electric bill here at the farm, and i said 'why not solar?'" recalls Suzanne.
A unique thing about the project is that the farm is only open to the public about 3 months out of the year, and that is when most of their energy is consumed.
"With the net metering laws, we were able to produce power and a credit account," said Joe Clement, Project Coordinator or Rochester Solar Technologies. "When they have that huge draw in the fall and winter, they will be able to use that power that they have credited through the course of the year."
So essentially, the sun will be working for them, even when the barns are closed. It's one reason why more and more people are thinking about solar power. Other motivators include, state and federal tax credits, and other incentives.
"We are seeing an increase in demand and an increase in interest," explained Clement. "I think people are now really sold on the idea. It's not a new idea either. People are comfortable, and yes... it does work."
The Stokoes are looking forward to seeing it all pay off when the farm opens again to the public on September 13th.
"I think people are very interested in it and I think it's going to be a great addition here for the farm," attested Suzanne. "It really shows our commitment to the environment."