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      Solar energy project

      One-hundred-twenty feet of solar paneling. This makes up the largest, privately-owned solar array in the Upper Peninsula. The Jorasz Brotherâ??s Dairy Farm in Wilson is home to the new structure.

      "I was always interested in either solar or wind energy,â?? explained farm owner and manager, John Jorasz. â??Solar seemed to be a more feasible source of energy because you get sun everyday; we don't have wind everyday.â??

      Even on cloudy days, the solar panels are still able to generate electricity.

      Combined, the 80 solar panels are rated at 250 watts each, creating 22,000 kilowatt hours annually. With this power, the solar panels will be able to offset around 80 percent of the farmâ??s daytime energy costs. The money saved will pay for the initial cost of the structure in only four to five years.

      "The important number, though, when judging the value of a solar project, is more in the cost of electricity the solar is displacing,â?? said Tom Karas, territory manager for Harvest Energy Solutions. â??Most folks in the U.P. are paying pretty high utility rates, and we can actually deliver energy with a solar project over 30 years at about five to six cents a kilowatt hour"

      The Jorasz brothers are already looking at the possibility of expansion.

      "We do have things in place where we can triple the size if it's economical,â?? Jorasz said. â??So we did plan for increasing its size by what we've already done underground and some of the panels and stuff we've put in. So we're looking ahead, but we're starting with this to see how the return is and how things work out."

      For more information on solar energy solutions, visit