December 2016: Home Nursery Now Grows Solar!
Home Nursery, Inc, is a wholesale nursery grower based in Albers, Illinois with a 95-year history of producing high-quality horticultural products for customers large and small throughout the Midwest. Throughout the latter half of 2016, Home Nursery added 10 new solar electric (PV) systems to buildings and ground sites around the farm’s production facility footprint. The total rated power capacity of the 10 combined solar energy systems is 556 kilowatts DC. The annual solar energy production from these 10 systems is calculated to be approximately 740,000 kilowatt-hours each year, and is predicted to save Home Nursery over $57,000 in electricity costs during just the first year.
The leadership of Home Nursery, including President Ann Tosovsky and Vice President of Production Paul Van Oteghem decided that they would pursue a solar energy project for the Home Nursery operations in order to save money on utilities and lower their environmental impact. In Ann’s words, “Home Nursery is installing the new solar power system as one way to help reduce its carbon footprint and be a good corporate citizen. It is important to do what we can when we can to help the environment as well as future generations.”
Paul’s son Jacob who works with the team at Home Nursery originally sparked the idea to look into solar energy as a means to accomplish many of the business’ long-term sustainability goals. Jacob even helped capture some video footage of the farm’s operations and new solar energy systems last summer which can be viewed on Home Nursery’s Facebook page.
The project incentive funding included a grant from the USDA’s Rural Energy for America (REAP) program. The REAP program is intended to encourage long-term investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy by rural small businesses and agricultural producers. Based on the solar energy production of the systems over the next 5 years, the farm will also garner payments from the Illinois Power Agency’s Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) program. The SREC program helps the state of Illinois procure renewable energy via in-state sources. To learn more about incentives available to businesses who incorporate solar, visit our Commercial Incentives overview page.