Solar Panels Replacing Windmills In Nebraska?

Solar panels are going in all over ranch country to pump water for cattle. But that does not mean windmills will soon disappear.

Ranchers in Nebraska have relied on windmills since the 1800s to fill stock tanks. As a result, windmills have become landmarks and symbols of a way of life. Although in many cases the windmill’s job is being replaced by solar panels. Jeff Petersen, president of Beveridge Well Drilling, said they do not need to be removed from the landscape.

Petersen said solar panels will “pump more than those windmills ever did,” and they have come down in price enough to give an advantage over the cost of repairing and maintaining windmills.

A panel is now affordable and it typically takes three of them to operate a well. However, in contrast to windmills, solar panels do not have gears that wear out, and leather seals that have to be replaced periodically, he said.

Solar panels and a windmill can be connected to a well simultaneously, if desired, Petersen said, with some modifications to the system. He also said that a generator can easily be plugged in if necessary, for temporary backup for a solar system.

When windmills are decommissioned, Petersen said he would rather see them and their towers left in place, rather than taken down. He gave the example of a customer who asked what Beveridges did with the windmill when a solar system was installed. When she was told that they had left it standing, she said, “Well that’s great. I like pulling over the hill and seeing that windmill.”

“There are places where you go three, four or five miles through pastures to get to another well,” and windmill towers serve as landmarks for travel, he said. “They’re 30 feet in the air,” compared with solar panels that stand only six to eight feet high. Solar Units will be continuing to rise in popularity all around the world, but in Nebraska, USA the history of the windmill will not be forgotten though the practicality of solar is inevitable. Home owners everywhere are installing solar, whats stopping you?

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