Marsh Run Farm – Waynesboro, Pennsylvania

Benjamin Barnett – Waynesboro, PA

Pennsylvania Farmer Embraces Solar Power

In the wake of the pandemic and subsequent economic challenges, many farmers in Pennsylvania have been compelled to seek innovative strategies to sustain their operations.

Among them is Benjamin Barnett, a seasoned farmer and owner of Marsh Run Farm in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. Faced with the need to adapt, Barnett transitioned his farming focus from boarding horses to dairy and cow breeding services.

“Most farmers in the area find themselves juggling multiple jobs to sustain their farms,” Barnett explained. Determined to explore alternative revenue streams to cope with escalating expenses, he began researching viable solutions.

This  led Barnett to the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Through a $57,139 grant from REAP, the Barnett family acquired and installed a 58.2-kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic system. Paradise Energy facilitated the construction of the system. As a result, the farm’s day-to-day energy expenses plummeted to zero.

“Farmers typically regard equity as a given necessity. But owning your own power presents a new dimension of equity for young farmers—it’s a departure from tradition,” Barnett remarked.

The solar project is projected to save Marsh Run Farm approximately $5,500 annually and will replace 50,148 kWh per year, equivalent to powering four homes in Franklin County.

“The REAP grant was pivotal—it was the lifeline I needed,” Barnett acknowledged. “I’d tell other farmers to look into it and see if it’s worth their time – it was for me.”