Coastal Solar to Unveil Mobile Farm Power Prototype ‘The Unit’ at 2017 Vidalia Onion Festival

| April 21, 2017

 

VALDOSTA – Solar energy is about to go mobile. And farmers are about to have a lot more flexibility in how they power their seasonal equipment. It is power when you need it for the farm community.

A new prototype called ‘The Unit’ is about to make its first public appearance at the 2017 Vidalia Onion Festival. The Unit was created to tackle several challenges faced by the agriculture industry.

First, it can rescue power-dependent farmers from having to sweat it out every summer hoping their electricity doesn’t get shut off right when they need it most. Many utilities incorporate load management when their peak demand usage is high. Coastal Solar’s unit could potentially help famers water their crops during the high demand hours from 2 PM to 7 PM.

Such essential functions as irrigation, processing, and cold storage could see a benefit from the energy produced by the Unit

Soon, a new source of power may be available to farmers – The Unit.

Second, many farmers use power only at certain times of the year, such as sprinklers, cotton gins, processing, and cold storage. Cutting their electricity costs at specific sites using the mobile Unit, and then moving it to other sites when the first is finished, gives them something no farmer has ever had – solar flexibility.

The Unit is truly mobile and can be relocated to different areas of the farm. In addition, the unit can be engineered to accommodate different voltages, such as a farmer who uses 480 volts on his pivot irrigation, 208 on his cold storage facility and 110 for power tools. The Unit can be outfitted to handle almost any electrical needs facing the agriculture industry.

The Unit is a dream-inspired mobile solar platform, built to offset daytime electrical loads. How does The Unit work?

It ties into the grid and can provide about 40,000 kWh per year using an 81-panel, 26 kW solar array. The panels are affixed to a platform that can be moved to different sites and fields using a tractor or full-size truck. For additional flexibility, with an optional generator and batter solution, the Unit can function during the evening hours, mitigate brownouts and blackouts.

Once the platform has been situated, three rows of solar panels unfold using a battery-operated cable winch. Depending on where the sun is positioned at that time, the user would orient The Unit so as to maximize the amount of generated solar power. The panel angles are completely customizable.

The Unit was designed and built by Georgia Pine Straw, Clint Williams & Jay Hutchenson. But it was inspired by a dream. According to Coastal Solar CEO Clay Sikes, his daughter had a dream about solar panels on wheels.

“It sure was a funny way to get such a revolutionary idea. But there’s nothing else like this that we know of. And it solves a major frustration that many southern farmers experience,” says Sikes.

The risk of electrical outage is a yearly concern for farmers. Refrigeration and irrigation are essential components to a successful farmer. That risk, along with higher summer rates, often puts farmers’ livelihoods on the line. The Unit will provide peace of mind, and will allow them to complete all their power-dependent tasks in a flexible and futuristic manner. Even if there are no acts of God that produce electrical outages, it will save money because they will need less power from the utility since they’ll be generating their own. Not to mention, the farmer will have much more flexibility.

Coastal Solar plans to display the prototype of The Unit at the Vidalia Onion Festival, from April 27th – 30th.

At the festival on April 30th, Coastal Solar will also be drawing the winning entries from their first-ever sweepstakes, giving away over $10,000 in prizes. Three winners will get Benelli shotguns, cash, and Bahamas cruises.

It’s called the 12 Month Power Bills sweepstakes. Entrants must submit twelve months of power bills in order to win the prizes. Anyone interested can register at 12MonthPowerBills.com.

The 40th Annual Vidalia Onion Festival will be as fun as ever. But this year, visitors can also see breakthrough solar technology in the form of The Unit. And if they act soon, they might also walk away with some great prizes.

The Vidalia Onion Festival is in its 40th year, and was called one of the 5 Don’t-Miss Festivals Across the US by MSNBC, and is a Southeast Tourism Society 20 top event. It’s a 4-day event. See more details at www.vidaliaonionfestival.com

Coastal Solar is a solar installation company located in Hinesville, GA. In addition to working with businesses and residences, they specialize in helping farms and agricultural businesses save energy costs through solar energy, including helping them through the USDA REAP application process.

To enter the 12 Month Power Bills contest, entrants must submit 12 months of power bills. The Bahamas cruise must be registered for within 45 days and the voucher activated within 90 days. See full sweepstakes details at www.12monthpowerbills.com.

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