Solar News

Check it out: Our Farm is Solar Powered!

Get a front-row seat to the installation of our solar panels by watching this video.

Interested in our system? Click here to see our online energy tracking with the “Sunny Boy” portal.

The Farm goes Solar!


We are happy to announce a great step on Bethlehem Farm’s journey toward alternative energy: the Farm is going solar! After a year of collecting wind data with our anemometer, we were deflated to learn that this mountaintop is not gusty enough to warrant harvesting wind energy. Shortly thereafter, we learned of an opportunity to purchase photovoltaic (PV) panels at a 20% discount. PV panels convert the sun’s energy into clean electricity and will reduce our reliance on the coal-fired electricity that destroys our West Virginia mountains. Thanks to proceeds from our Winter Benefit in Chicago and donations from newsletter appeals, we were able to seize this time-limited opportunity and purchase PV panels to cover 25-30% of our electricity usage. We still need your help to cover the cost of the system’s installation in order to put these solar panels to work.

Our PV system

  • produces approximately 6,000-8,000 KWh of electricity annually, covering 25-30% of our demand and significantly reducing our utility bill.
  • offsets the burning of 3-4 tons of coal annually– resulting in a yearly reduction of up to 15,600 lbs of CO2.
  • locks in today’s electricity price for the next 40 years— as energy costs continue to rise, our electricity will cost us the same 8 cents per watt throughout the life of the system.
  • leaves room on the roof to install two more 6.24KW systems in the future, which should cover our entire demand.

Preparing the farmhouse for solar panels included installing a new roof

Hauling the 20′ sheets of metal up on the roof was not an easy task, but with teamwork and careful planning, the process went quickly. The roofing crew: the caretakers; our neighbor, Richard (a General Contractor), Richard’s metal cutter, Joe; our Fall Servant, Holly; and Colleen’s friend; Josh. The roof was completed in only three days! The new roof, which will last 40+ years, was then ready for the installation of the solar panels.