Whispering Pines Fish Farm

Holland, New York

Solar Electric

$23,125 Grant


Whispering Pines Fish Farm - solar electricOn a frigid January day in 2007 with wind chills dipping well below zero, Stephen Welk installed a solar photovoltaic system on his fish farm in Holland, New York.

Welk, who has been involved with aquaculture for more than 20 years, raises nine different species of fish, including perch, trout, and bass.

These fish are then sold as sport fish for stocking rivers and lakes in the area. After taking a course in solar technology, he became interested in a new catch: installing a functioning solar electric system on his own farm.

With a grant of $23,125 from REAP, he was able to install a 10 kW system on his property. In evaluating the feasibility of his project, Welk stressed the importance of securing funding from multiple sources. Aside from the REAP grant, he received support from a New York state energy program and tax credits at both the state and federal levels.

“Without any one of those, I would not have done it,” Welk noted of his project, the total cost of which was about $93,000.

Thus far, he has been very happy with the performance of his system, which has supplied about one third of the farm’s energy. Welk says he is confident in the technology and he knows that it works, even if it would have been pricey in the absence of support from programs like REAP.

His system has been very dependable, producing 11,000 kWh over a twelve-month period. On its best day of production, Welk’s system produced 67 kWh.

Now, Welk loves “just sitting back and watching the meter spin” as he avidly tracks the system’s daily clean energy production.