The farm of the future will thrive in a tight energy market; its abundance of biomass, animal waste, and open space suitable for the collection of solar energy position it to become a net exporter of renewable energy. The Future Farmstead is at the forefront of meeting this challenge with a combination of improved energy efficiencies, farming practices that conserve energy and the environment, and renewable energy production.
The Sun is the ultimate power supply. The formerly vacant rooftops of the house, barn, shop and sheds have become prime real estate for energy production. In a rural setting, where space is not limited there is also an opportunity to utilize photovoltaic cells, which can track sunlight and optimize energy capture. Small scale wind power can work in conjunction with solar power to provide electricity to the remotest corners of the property.
The University of Georgia is involved in a project on the Georgia coast, evaluating hybrid solar and wind systems for pumping water in cattle farming operations. These hybrid systems have replaced diesel engines and can provide a relatively constant power supply year round.