GFM Network News


A new photo cell could generate electricity for greenhouse operators without harming crop production.

New solar panels grab light from above and below

Potential solution towards balance between crop growth and electricity generation capabilities

Electricity is a major expense for Canadian greenhouse growers. At the same time, large greenhouse facilities offer potential to produce renewable solar energy — but the challenge to date has been how to do that without impacting the growth and productivity of the crop inside. A potential solution from Ontario solar panel manufacturer Heliene is

Weather school: How Earth manages its energy input

How land and water are arranged on Earth greatly affect its weather

In our last weather class, we were looking at Earth’s greenhouse effect and how it keeps the planet warm enough for life as we know it to exist. That was a part of our general look at Earth’s energy balance. With that in mind, this week’s lesson looks at the difference between land and water and how they “manage” the


Melissa Pawlisch, director with the University of Minnesota’s Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) was a guest speaker at the Manitoba Sustainable Energy Association conference in Winnipeg earlier this month.

Clean energy can drive rural economy

Speakers call for switching out some of the $4 billion now spent on fossil fuel imports to Manitoba with homegrown renewable energy sources

Businesses are powered by solar panels on rooftops in downtown Minneapolis while small towns across the state source solar energy from “solar gardens” and farms harness the power of the sun to power up their barns. Minnesota has become a leading U.S. state for its adoption of solar and other renewable energy sources, thanks to

Solar power push lights up options for India’s rural women

Keeping the lights on — and factories running — with solar panels has been a game changer

Thomson Reuters Foundation – In her village of Komalia, the fog swirls so thick at 7 a.m. that Akansha Singh can see no more than 15 metres ahead. But the 20-year-old is already cycling to her workplace, nine kilometres away. Halfway there she stops for two hours at a computer training centre, where she’s learning

Otterburne-area dairy farmer Hans Gorter now has a new 175-kilowatt, solar photovoltaic (PV) system installed on the farm to provide all the farm’s electrical energy needs.

Otterburne dairy is Manitoba’s largest solar-powered farm

The off-grid option has upfront costs but locks in energy costs for the foreseeable future


A southern Manitoba dairy is just days away from flipping the switch on the largest solar-powered farm in Manitoba. Optimist Holsteins Ltd. near Otterburne is in final stages of setting up a newly installed 175-kilowatt, solar photovoltaic (PV) system. When operational it will begin producing enough power to meet all the farm’s electrical needs while


Duane Kent of Beiseker, Alta., is 500 kilometres from both his herd near Biggar, Sask., and his solar-powered remote watering system. The producer has integrated cameras and internet controls to make up for the distance.

Watering cattle with solar power

Producers give solar-powered watering systems top marks despite their ups and downs

It’s been five years since Doug Northam traded in his sloughs for solar, and the Rapid City producer gives his remote watering system glowing reviews. “Around here we don’t have any wells or anything, so the cows just drink out of the sloughs and when they dry back a bit they tend to be three

There’s one more year left to run on a farmer-friendly Manitoba Hydro 
solar installation program.

Manitoba sunshine brightens solar power opportunities

Many hours of sunshine make power generation possible even in the dead of winter

Justin Phillips doesn’t mince his words: If you’re a Manitoba farmer, the time to invest in solar power is right now. The Winnipeg-based businessman helped pioneer the solar industry in Manitoba and has watched Manitoba Hydro kick-start the industry to unexpected heights via a farmer-friendly pilot program that has one year left on it. That

Off-site watering systems can improve herd health by reducing foot rot and increase carrying capacity.

Benefiting from a solar watering system

Installing a solar watering system has increased carrying capacity, weight gain and improved herd health

Cattle producers battling foot rot issues may want to consider employing a solar watering system. “By using these solar watering systems we have been able to fence off our sloughs and dugouts and that has dramatically improved our animal health. We haven’t seen foot rot on our farm for at least nine years. It is


A worker cleans photovoltaic solar panels inside a solar power plant at Raisan village near Gandhinagar, in the western Indian state of Gujarat, February 11, 2014.

A new climate-smart cash crop — sunshine

Selling surplus solar energy to the grid is a triple-win scenario in India

London / Thomson Reuters Foundation – A pioneering project in one of India’s sunniest states has led to one farmer harvesting what could become the country’s most climate-smart cash crop yet — sunshine. A pilot project by Sri Lanka-based non-profit International Water Management Institute (IWMI) offered farmers the opportunity to sell excess energy generated by solar

Sunflowers are seen in full bloom on a field in Sirisia district, near the Kenya-Uganda border, on the slopes of Mount Elgon, western Kenya, November 10, 2014.

Kenyan farmers profit from the sun to water crops

Drip irrigation requires a costly upfront investment, but it pays for itself in a relatively short time

For subsistence farmers in rain-scarce Kenya, drip irrigation can mean the difference between hand-to-mouth survival and being able to grow an agricultural business like Alice Migwi’s. She now has three full-time employees, an expanding plot of land, and enough surplus produce to sell to restaurants and hotels after harvest. “A drip system is perhaps the