Wisconsin farmers reeling from a disastrous winter are getting a little help from the state’s energy efficiency program. Focus on Energy® is offering a 25 percent bonus on top of its regular financial incentives to Wisconsin farmers whose barn roofs collapsed due to heavy snowfall. The money can help farmers replace some equipment damaged in roof collapses – things like lights, waterers and circulation fans – with energy-efficient options that will save them money on their energy bills for many years.
“Many agribusinesses in Wisconsin are already facing challenges due to record-low milk prices, and the unplanned expense of repairing or replacing a barn is daunting for the impacted farmers,” said Focus on Energy’s Business Portfolio Manager, Erin Soman. “We can’t pay to fix all the damage, but we can help with some of the equipment costs and help them make smart energy choices that will benefit their businesses for years to come.”
For example, each LED light fixture installed can save approximately $100 per year in energy costs over the life of the fixture. If a farm installs 15 new LED light fixtures, the savings produce an estimated $1,500 a year the farm can spend on something else. Zero energy waterers and high-efficiency circulating or ventilation fans can also provide significant energy savings.
There have been dozens of reports of barn roofs at least partially collapsing in the past month, especially in the northern half of Wisconsin, where some areas have seen snowfall totals close to 90 inches this winter. That includes record-setting February snowfall numbers in parts of northwestern Wisconsin.
In addition to money to offset the initial cost of upgrades, farmers that apply for Focus on Energy’s Farm Disaster Bonus will also have access to an Energy Advisor.
“The knowledge those Energy Advisors provide can be just as valuable as the incentive check,” says Focus on Energy’s Agriculture, Schools and Government Program Manager, Heather Feigum. “They can help identify efficient equipment options for each affected farm’s particular needs, calculate energy savings and help determine payback.”
The special offering will be launched March 20. To be eligible, farmers must:
• Need reconstruction due to a natural disaster in 2019 • Be a customer of one of the 107 Wisconsin utilities who participate in Focus on Energy • Apply for a bonus request by June 1, 2019 • Complete any projects and submit incentive paperwork by November 30, 2019