As the financial benefits of solar power continue to grow exponentially for the American farmer, Southeast-based Coastal Solar Power LLC has split into two different entities. Newly launched Ag Solar Solutions to set to make a greater impact in the agriculture industry. Ag Solar Solutions opened the doors to its new operations in May 2018 after a transformative experience at the IPPE International exhibit in Atlanta this past February.
Solar power provides an immediate bottom-line boost, especially for farmers. Just like their other equipment, it’s depreciable. In addition, state and local tax credits and incentives, along with the USDA Reap Grant can pay for most a farmer’s installation costs. The result is increased profits as well as improvements in overall farming operations.
U.S. Congressman Buddy Carter recently talked about the success of Ag Solar Solutions’ parent company, Coastal Solar, during the Renewable Energy Select Committee Hearing. This comes after his office reached out to Ag Solar Solutions owner and CEO, Clay Sikes.
Sikes told the Congressman, in part, “As you know, our laser focus has been helping farmers with renewable energy options. These options (solar plus storage) dramatically improve the bottom line for individual farmers. Since we have ‘pioneered’ in agriculture, the information we’ve accumulated is not known broadly – and farmers and the public need to know what an advantage renewable energy is.”
During the committee hearing testimony, Congressman Carter said, “I want to mention one company in particular in our district – Coastal Solar. They’ve really found a niche here. In fact, they’ve really been able to go into the rural areas, particularly to the chicken farmers, and they’ve got solar panels where they’ve helped the chicken farmers. And a lot of the farmers there in the rural communities are using this and using this to great advantage. And it’s really helped us. Coastal Solar is one of the reasons why we’re seeing Georgia as one of the top 10 states in solar energy. And, not only that, they’re creating jobs.”
Mike Croft, who served as Chief Operating Officer and an integral leader with Coastal Solar Power LLC since July 2015, has been promoted to Senior Vice President of Ag Solar Solutions and Coastal Solar Power, LLC. Brett Sikes has been promoted to Director of Operations to oversee operations for Coastal Solar Power, LLC which will continue its service in the residential and commercial markets. Clay Sikes continues his role as CEO managing the executive leadership team that now spans both businesses.
Croft was considered a natural choice to lead Ag Solar Solutions. In his previous role, he engineered numerous poultry solar solutions as well as developed the advanced proposal tools. These tools are used to help farmers replace high utility bills with a realistic ROI and customize a path to solar technology that solves their unique challenges. Croft and his team have achieved a success rate of 98 percent in obtaining USDA Reap Grants for farmers and growers. This translates to 20 grants and over $400,000 for renewable energy initiatives for farmers in the past several years.
“We made presence at the IPPE (International Production & Processing Expo) in Atlanta,” Croft said. “We knew agriculture was an underserved market and we wanted to do something about it. We wanted to learn how we could better serve American farmers and growers.”
Croft added, “We were the only solar company at the conference. We spoke with a lot of farmers who had never even considered solar as an option to solve long-term problems. The conference was our confirmation that we are on the right track to make a difference in the agriculture industry. As a result, we decided to start a solar company that’s laser-focused for farmers and growers.”
“In the agriculture industry, there are four primary driving forces that have real meaning to our farmers,” he said. “The first driving force is equipment depreciation. The second is the tax credits. The third is their electricity bills. The fourth is the USDA REAP Grant. We are using all four to help our farmers stay sustainable and run healthier.”
For more information, visit www.agsolarsolutions.com or call (844) 771-0787.