That will Save Money and Improve the Environment for Years to Come
Surviving the Drought
Just five minutes from the busy Hamburg shopping area in Lexington is the Peaceful Valley Farm that is the long time Kiser family home. Joe Kiser, founder and operator of the Fayette Electrical Service, Inc., bought the 162 acre farm in 1965. Joe’s desire to depend on the water from the ground and energy from the sun shows his passion to be a good manager of the resources on his land.
Joe has operated the farm, which includes cattle and a large garden, for many years with water coming from a nearby stream. The local Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) district conservationist Charlie Farmer had visited the farm in the early 1990’s so in 1994 Joe knew who to call to get technical advice on drilling a well in one of the back pastures. The location was selected and to this day, the wall pumps 28 gallons/minute. Joe fills a tank and then uses the water as needed for his cattle.
The stream near the home and barns ran dry in this summer’s drought and Joe struggled to keep his livestock and garden watered. He was forced to use city water but the cost was more than he was willing to continue paying so Joe decided it was time to drill another well. He contacted Charles again who requested the technical expertise of Kentucky NRCS Geologist Paul Howell. Paul studies geological maps that help predict the possibility of hitting water. “We look for subsurface space on the maps,” said Paul. He added, “There has to be subsurface space before we will even try to estimate the possibility of hitting water.”
The geological maps at the Kiser farm indicated the possibility of hitting water so this summer, Joe Kiser, with the assistance of Joe Maybriar from Somerset, Kentucky, drilled a second well. They hit water within 25 feet. Now the well is supplying water to the garden and into a tank that waters the cattle when they come in from the back pastures. The water is also piped into the family home and once testing is complete, Joe hopes to be independent of the city water supply and function fully from the water well.
With 54 head of cattle and over 40 calves, Joe estimates he needs about 1,500 gallons of water a day. For the Kiser farm, the wells were not just about better pasture management but were critical for economic survival. Supplying water to the livestock from the city water supply would cost Joe hundreds of dollars each month forcing him to significantly reduce his cattle operation.
Water quantity was not the only resource concern that Joe had on his farm. Joe is the founder and CEO of Fayette Electrical Service, Inc. so he knows quite a bit about energy consumption. He studied the possibilities of solar energy and decided earlier this summer to install solar panels on one of his barns. Solar Energy Solutions- Lexington installed solar panels across south facing side of one of Kiser’s barns and Fayette Electric did the rest of the work connecting the solar power to the electric in the home.
The savings have been immediate. In June, Joe actually banked over 300 kilowatts of energy which means he is not only powering completely from the solar panels, he is banking energy for the cloudy and darker winter months ahead. Joe estimates the solar system will take 8 years to pay for itself.
A benefit that few take into consideration when using solar power is the reduction of carbon dioxide. The electric companies’ receive power from coal, thus causing CO2 to emit into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide has been noted as one of the major causes of global warming; this leads to droughts, which leads to reduced corn yields, and many other issues.
Fayette Electrical Service Inc. did all of the wiring on the solar project and they are available to go anywhere in Kentucky to do this type work. So with some imagination and a little help from NRCS, Kiser has the water he needs, and he’s reducing carbon emissions, saving money and storing energy for the dark, cloudy winter months ahead.