Could it be that a solar powered dairy farm makes happy cows? The Happy Cow Creamery just outside of Greenville, South Carolina is the first commercial organic dairy farm that has installed a solar hot water system. The energy saving solar panels helps “green” the operations even more than before. You can practically see the cows smiling, as a result!
Happy Cow Creamery has been honored for its green organic farming practices. It uses a “unique on-the-farm milk bottling operation,” raises grass-fed cows, and has shunned use of chemicals and chemical fertilizers for more than 21 years. With the installation of a thermosiphon solar water heater on the dairy building roof, the farm can save significant energy, as well as the environment. Instead of using electricity to heat water to a temperature needed for dairy operations, the solar hot water heater uses renewable energy from the sun!
As shown below, a thermosiphon solar water heater can heat water to 160 degrees F using passive solar techniques. Gravity and thermal convection (hot water rises, while cool water sinks) operate together in the system.
The insulated storage tanks are positioned at the top (see photo). Cool water is drawn down from the tank into tubing in which it is heated by passive solar energy. When the water gets hot, it rises back up to the tanks. No electricity is needed to either heat the water, or pump it through the system.
The solar heated water can then be drawn from the tanks to use for various dairy operations. Use of solar hot water is just perfect for the farm, as the solar panels are efficient and effective, even on overcast days.
A solar powered dairy farm isn’t the only commercial operation that is benefiting from use of a solar water heater. Other water-intensive uses, like breweries and nurseries have successfully incorporated thermosiphon solar water heaters into their businesses, as well.
For more information on Happy Cow Creamery, be sure to visit their website. If you’re in the area, they give tours and offer free samples of their delicious products from their happy cows!