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Westbrook, Minnesota
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February 24, 2016     Sentinel Tribune
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February 24, 2016
 

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SENTINEL TRIBUNE Wednesday, February 24, 2016 Page 10 Solar -- From page 1 These numbers show there is a very positive impact with alternative energy sys- tems. Plus the system has about a five year pay back. The system installed at the Jorgenson's is about 13 feet high, and 160 feet long. The panels are made up of sections that are 39 inches wide and 77 inches long. There are a total of 100 pan- els. The tilt of the panels is set at 30 degrees. The system is much lower maintenance than wind tower generators. "On a wind gen- erator the generator is over 100 feet in the air, while the solar panels are mounted on the ground. The individual panels can easily be replaced, they are pretty much plug and go," he said. Jorgenson says he is excit- ed to get the electrical work done in the next few days. After that the system will have to be inspected by the state electrical inspector. Jorgenson's nephew Eric Jorgenson an electrician, will be doing the electrical work for the project. Jorgenson says this com- pany and their products are under a very good warranty which the company covers along with the manufacturer of the panels themselves. 1 Above: A worker was busy working on the back side of the Solar Array last week. Jorgenson says there are many options for installing these systems. They can be mounted ola building roofs, lined up in long connected rows, or on individual pedes- tals. We chose this system because it it a very low main- tenance system. They also have moveable systems that actually track the sun move- ment to capture more of the sun's rays. It is obvious that both wind and solar have their down side., not producing when there is no wind or the sun is not out. He says the next big thing for both wind and solar will be the develop- ment of storage systems so that these sources will be able to meet demand calls for energy. Jorgenson said for those thinking about going into the solar or wind, should have at least a year's worth of energy bills. If a person is thinking about installing a roof top system you will have to have an engineering study to see if the roof is capable of sup- porting a system. Jorgenson says he thinks it is something the country needs to pursue (alternative energy). We likely will be seeing a lot of change in farming, we will probably see our diesel powered trac- tors be propelled by some other type of energy. For the Jorgenson's the alternative energy future is definitely here. Syrup season likely to start early amid warm r temperatures The El Nino weather pat- tern responsible for produc- ing relatively mild winters in the Upper Midwest is expected to trigger an earli- er-than-usual maple syruping season in Minnesota this year, according to the Department of Natural Resources. People who tap trees for maple sap may soon begin setting taps ~is year, espe- cially in the southern part of the state. Typically, late February to mid-April marks the start of Minnesota's maple syruping season. "I hope the maple trees produce as much sap as in years past, but the season may occur a few weeks early if this winter's weather con- tinues on its current course," says Mimi Barzen, a DNR forester who taps trees on leased land in Grand Rapids during her spare time. "Early- flowing sap generally has less sugar, so it will take more of it to make syrup this year." Barzen and her family insert 125 to 150 taps every year, and process approxi- mately 1,000 gallons of sap, making up to 25 gallons of actual syrup. A tradition they look forward to every year. Sap flows best when the nights get below freezing and the days get warm-above 35 degrees Fahrenheit. Once col- lected, the sap is boiled down to produce syrup. Between 30 and 50 gallons of sap is need- ed to produce one gallon of maple syrup. The Minnesota Maple Syrup Producers Association estimates the state has over 125,000 taps producing between 35,000 to 45,000 gallons of syrup. Sugar maples are the most favored tree for syruping due to the high sugar con- tent in their sap. However, sugar content varies year to year and from tree to tree. Other maples and even a few non-maple trees are some- times tapped such as red maple, silver maple, boxelder and birch. Norway maple, a non-native species, typically has a low sugar content and is not tapped. "Usually we tap trees around mkl-March, but every year is unique," Barzen said. "With the ~nild weather, we'll be watchir)g closely for the sap to start running." Visit the DNR's Landowner Spotlight page at www. mndnr.gov/woodlands/syrup. html for a story on how one family forest owner taps and makes syrup. Visit the state parks website at www.mndnr. gov/state_parks/maple_syr- uping.html to find maple syrup tapping events. More detailed information on maple syruping available at www.extension.umn.edu/ environment/trees -wood- lands/homemade-maple-syr- up. 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