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Cross Island Farms Enjoys a Renewable Energy Harvest: A Wind Powering America Success Story

December 19, 2011

For Cross Island Farms of Wellesley Island, New York, 2011 was a bountiful year—and not just because of the farm's harvest. Following the installation of a 10-kilowatt (kW) Bergey wind turbine in August, along with a 5.52-kW SunPower solar array one month later, owners Dani Baker and David Belding have enjoyed their second consecutive month of being credited kilowatt-hours of electricity from their local utility.

Baker and Belding believe that the project will aid the 102-acre farm in its overall goal of sustainability.

"Controlling costs is a big part of that," Baker said. "If we can produce all the power we need without any expenditures, then we can actually live off the profits from the farm."

The $122,000 project received partial funding through a New York State Energy & Research Development Authority grant ($34,919) and a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Energy for America Program grant ($22,500). The New York agency grant also paid for 25% of the cost of the solar project.

Trudy Forsyth, senior project leader at the National Wind Technology Center, believes that funding is an essential part of the equation for distributed renewables to reach a larger market.

"National and state funding for projects like this highlight the various opportunities that exist for other consumers. It's a way to demonstrate how distributed renewables can work in a real-life application," Forsyth said.

According to the American Wind Energy Association's 2010 U.S. Small Wind Turbine Market Report, the cumulative installed capacity of small wind turbines in the United States is approximately 179 megawatts, involving more than 144,000 turbines.

Wind Powering America recently produced a case study on the Cross Island Farms renewable energy project, which will be available early next year. For this and more information on distributed wind, visit

—Julie Jones