Valley® Blog

Valley Irrigation is the worldwide leader in precision irrigation. The Valley brand of center pivot, linear, and corner equipment provides solutions for conserving water and meeting the growing demand for food.

Take Your Operation to the Next Step with Ag Solar

by User Not Found | Mar 14, 2022

Valley® Irrigation pioneered the center pivot industry, and we have been at the forefront of every pivot innovation since then. We've come a long way from the first water drives. From the market's initial corner machines to control panels, and from connected crop management to artificial intelligence and machine learning, Valley has remained the industry trailblazer. The next step in our leadership role across the entire, sustainable ag ecosystem is providing renewable, low-cost solar energy: synergy with our steel in fields around the world.

Solar power for agriculture is something Valley has been pursuing for a long time, based on requests from customers, says Darren Siekman, Vice President and General Manager, International Irrigation. "In many parts of the world, the 'grid' for electricity simply doesn't exist, and diesel generators and diesel fuel are prohibitively expensive and prone to theft."

Valley was able to find a partner that uses the latest technology to provide not only proof of operation, but a "real-time" payback calculator, Siekman continues.

"Solar technology is becoming more and more affordable, while inflation is driving up energy costs, Siekman says. "We understand the impact of rising prices on our grower's margins. At Valley, we actively seek solutions to reduce costs while optimizing production."

"With open ground and big demand, solar power is a natural fit for agribusiness," adds Haime Dias, North American Director, Ag Solar. "One concrete way it lowers the cost of operations is by offsetting electrical bills."

Over 80% of installations are connected to the grid, giving growers the cost-saving option of either selling power back to their local utility or receiving credits applied to their electricity usage, Siekman says. "It pays for itself every day the sun shines, whether you're irrigating or not."

Coming to America: Sustainable Power for Ag

As important as they are, availability and cost are not the only factors consumers care about. The environment is also increasingly important. Currently, 80% of America's energy comes from fossil fuels that release greenhouse gases. Solar power decreases these adverse effects by producing an abundant energy supply without carbon emissions. 

This ties in with the overall sustainability efforts of Valley and Valmont®. From water-conserving technology around the globe, extending the life of our steel through durable coatings that remain 100% recyclable, or enabling the safe expansion of electrical grids around the world, all Valmont businesses are involved in conserving resources and improving life. Our long history of delivering on promises and our global footprint gives us credibility in an industry where many companies are merely trying to capitalize on the solar "trend."

Benefits of Ag Solar

Reduce costs – Solar energy is freely available from nature.

Incentives – Growers can take advantage of tax savings and incentive programs available for renewable energy.

Available – Irrigate any time of day and not be affected by variable rates or service interruptions.

Sustainable – Solar reduces reliance on fossil fuels.

Clean – Solar cuts down on CO2 emissions.

Accessible – Great for remote farms and fields without access to the traditional power grid.

Forward-thinking – Future-proof your farm for generations to come. 

Return on Investment

No matter where they farm, growers want a solid payback. "We understand our growers are 'for-profit' operations and need a solid return on their investment," Siekman says. "More efficient use of water is the foundation that has driven our success for more than 75 years; now we can add 'efficient energy generation' to our value proposition."

We map out the return for every proposal our Valley Dealers provide, Dias explains. "All of our Valley products are about delivering payback and superior value. Solar is no different."

On top of that, Dias adds, there are several other incentives and grant programs in many states geared toward small agri-businesses and farmers that can improve the payback to fewer than three years in some cases. 

The Future of Ag Solar

Valley never stops innovating to improve our products, solutions and services, and to expand what is possible on the farm.

Dias says remote monitoring and integrating artificial intelligence data will be the future for ag solar. "Valley will have our own monitoring system for solar energy, so the grower can have all the data from solar energy at his fingertips and make more informed decisions about resource allocation."

Siekman says the efficiency of solar power generation itself will also continue to improve. Current panels generate about 20% of the total solar power available from light waves. Next-gen photovoltaic cells will be able to generate upward of 33%. "Since Valley and Valmont have such extensive international reach, we will see the latest technology as it becomes commercially available. Those improvements will put our customers at the forefront of sustainability—and ROI."

Solar Power + Stellar Service

For the last 75 years, Valley has been providing the best center pivot irrigation systems and pumping solutions to match grower needs. The solution for energy that drives the pivots and pumps hasn't been part the package before, but Valley has achieved complete turnkey solutions.

Dias is proud to be part of the latest revolution in ag. "I believe our complete portfolio and the A-to-Z service delivered by our industry-best dealer network are what differentiate us from the competitors. We don't just sell solar panels, we craft a complete solar energy solution—as part of the overall ag ecosystem—to optimize performance for individual growers." 

To take the next step with reliable, renewable energy on your farm, contact your local Valley Dealer today.

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