National Arboretum Goes Green With Solar Irrigation

Reader Contribution by Hank Will and Editor-In-Chief
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You know solar energy has&nbsp;gone mainstream when it trickles into the daily operation of a big government facility. In this case I am not talking about solar-powered, top-secret missile launchers &ndash; or solar-powered, military radios. No, I am talking about the new tree irrigation system at the <a href=”″>U.S. National Arboretum</a> in Washington DC.</p>
According to a report published by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) the National Arboretum has installed a solar-powered drip irrigation system in one of its remote nurseries that&rsquo;s about a half mile from the nearest power line. The new system consists of six photo voltaic panels that collect sunlight, a battery that stores the energy, and an inverter that converts the stored energy into electricity used to run the nursery’s drip-irrigation system.</p>
<p>&nbsp;This project was a staff-driven initiative to cut operation costs. The savings increase with each day the system is in use. In this case, installing the solar-electric system was less expensive than running power lines to the nursery. And the electricity will be virtually free for the 25 year expected lifespan of the PV panels.</p>
<p>&nbsp;For more information on this and other projects at the National Arboretum,&nbsp;<a href=”” target=”_blank”>click here</a>.</p>
<p>&nbsp;Photo courtesy USDA.</p>
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<a href=”” target=_self>Hank Will</a>
<em> raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper’s Farmer magazines. Connect with him on </em>
<a title=Google+ href=”” target=_blank rel=author>Google+</a>.</p>

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