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SOLAR ENERGY OPENHOUSE

AUGUST 10TH, 2019

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Petoskey, Mich. –You’ve heard that old saying “make hay while the sun shines”. It’s still true, but we can update it to also say “make electricity while the sun shines”! Solar energy does work, even up here in Northern Michigan. If you want some evidence of that first hand, come to a solar energy open house at Coveyou Scenic Farm on August 10th. Coveyou Scenic Farm is two miles south of Petoskey on U.S.-131. Presentations and a farm tour will be from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. At 9:00 a.m. there will be a hands-on participatory demonstration as we add 16 new solar panels to the Coveyou’s array.

Coveyou Scenic Farm has installed numerous innovative energy conservation practices over the last dozen years that allow the farm to demonstrate the potential of newer technologies to be economically prudent and environmentally friendly. Coveyou Scenic Farm has been recognized by the Governor’s Energy Excellence Award Committee for their energy conservation work, the only business in the state to garner this accomplishment twice. David Coveyou, who runs this 145-year-old family farm overlooking Walloon Lake, that grows certified organic vegetables, has a passion for environmental sustainability and a Masters in Electrical Engineering. Mr. Coveyou will describe how his 64-panel solar array has provided the majority of the energy needs of the farm over the last 6 years. He will also share how he uses a geothermal system to chill his walk-in coolers to keep produce fresh. The heat that is removed from the walk-in coolers is transferred into the ground and then used in the winter to heat a 4800 sq. ft greenhouse growing vegetable transplants and salad greens.

Ric Evans, clean energy policy specialist with Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities will talk about the potential for solar power in the region and options for people to install solar units at their homes and farms. Local officials will be present to talk about initiatives that are underway. Daniel Marbury, from Crosshatch Center for Art and Ecology will tell us about a program, sponsored by Bob Sutherland of Cherry Republic, with funding to help farmers install solar systems on their farms.

This field day is made possible through a collaboration among the Local Food Alliance of Northern Michigan, Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities, Crosshatch Center for Art and Ecology and Michigan State University Extension with funding from the USDA Risk Management Agency. The USDA is an equal opportunity employer and service provider.

The Local Food Alliance is a network of people, organizations and business who work to increase the availability and access to locally grown food in an area called the Northern Farms Foodshed, focusing on Emmet, Charlevoix and portions of Antrim, Otsego and Cheboygan counties.

There is no cost to attend and registration is not required, but organizers would appreciate an rsvp on line at https://forms.gle/nPxzYbx3FeWxoSr39. For more information call the Local Food Alliance at 231-881-2784 or send an email to localfoodnmich@gmail.com.