SOUTH GOWER -- Ottawa Valley Harvestore Systems has added Lambton conveyors, bins and grain handling equipment to its lineup -- as well as an opportunity for farmers to make rooftop electricity while the sun shines.
"We feel it fits right in with us," Ottawa Valley Harvestore Systems general manager Henk Huizenga says of Lambton's range of equipment. Huizenga says they officially became a Lambton dealer in March, just in time to showcase the fact at the Ottawa Valley Farm Show.
Lambton had no dealer presence in Eastern Ontario since the closure of Surgeson Grain Handling Equipment a few years ago, according to Huizenga, and the new connection with Ottawa Valley Harvestore systems re-establishes that connection in the region. "There was no dealer and they were selling direct, so I finally called them and asked if they'd like to sell through us," he says.
The Lambton addition is a nice replacement for the Rovibec robotic feeder line that Ottawa Valley Harvestore lost when that vendor made changes to its dealer structure in a corporate change and effectively dropped the number of Eastern Ontario Rovibec dealers from four to three, according to Huizenga.
"We lost it, unfortunately, and this [Lambton] was an idea to get more sales going."
And as of late last year, Ottawa Valley Harvestore has become a conduit between solar-system investors and farmers with barn roofs that have the potential to host solar panels.
ArcStar Energy leases roofs for solar panels supplying energy to the power grid through Ontario's Feed-In Tariff program.
Huizenga says his company got involved with ArcStar because the latter firm was looking for a partner with connections in farm country.
In return for leasing his barn roof for an ArcStar solar project, the farmer receives up to $8,000 in annual lease payments over 20 years, without upfront capital cost. The developer, ArcStar, collects the 71.2 cents/KWh for the power, with Ottawa Valley Harvestore Systems looking after system maintenance and annual cleaning of the panels.
Solar panels collect a film of dust and dirt and require steam cleaning on a yearly basis to keep them operating at optimum levels, he says.
ArcStar wants a minimum-size project of 100 kW, requiring 8,000 square feet of roof space, while the maximum 250 kW size demands 25,000 square feet.
But one fly in the ointment of this potential opportunity is the lack of capacity on much of the grid for such projects in Eastern Ontario, according to Huizenga, though he says the Cornwall, Chesterville and Brockville areas seem to be exceptions at this point.
"I've got six leases signed, and I've got several other projects that people want to buy (ArcStar also sells turnkey systems)," he says.