Hometown Farmer: Solar Irrigation System

Dolf Ivener thinks he'll be pretty happy with the yield out of his corn field near Whiting, Iowa this year, partly because of some new equipment he's put up."In the last 90 days," said Ivener, looking back at the seven kilowatt solar system and irrigation pivot behind him.He can run the system from his phone, and it does more than just water."You can apply fertilizer at just the right time," said Ivener.And even though the solar set-up cost around $20,000 itself, it is convenient, especially since Dolf doesn't live close by."From my bed back to my bed, at night, would be a two hour journey, so it was like: this works! This works perfectly just like this," said Ivener with a smile.The solar panels generate electricity which feeds into the power grid. Western Iowa Power Cooperative still supplies the pivot with power, though, so Dolf is really just generating an electricity surplus.But that works out in the long run."If I overproduce power for WIPCO, they'll give me four-and-a-half cents per kilowatt hour for power," said Ivener.He says he's just happy WIPCO worked with him on this project."This is an extremely disruptive technology for their business model," said Ivener.He sees a future that he thinks isn't too far away, and it's a lot different than what you see right now."You need miles and miles of wire for one little old lady that uses 80 dollars worth of power," said Ivener.He thinks that soon a lot of rural homes will have their own solar set-up kind of like his.Maybe his field is just the beginning of a beautiful friendship."WIPCO is supplying me with power, but I'm supplying them with power, too," said Ivener.If you know of any farmers you think would be great here on "Proud to be a Hometown Farmer," please email Jake at: