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On Pasture, Like Your Pasture, Powered by the Sun!

By   /  May 18, 2015  /  2 Comments

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Welcome to the first 100% solar-powered grazing magazine!

Kathy lives in Arizona, where the sun shines 360 days a year and lots of people collect the sun for power. Her house came complete with solar panels on the roof.


Rachel’s house just went solar this past week. With the installation and hook up, we are proud to say that On Pasture’s global headquarters (both of our homes!) are solar powered! We won’t be off the grid, but we’ll be using and adding cleaner energy to the grid.

Installing solar panels on Rachel's house!

Installing solar panels on Rachel’s house! These steep roofs make it tricky and the installers wear climbing harnesses so they don’t fall off. Too bad their radio didn’t have a safety harness too!

Henry Bell built the house Rachel and her family live in. We hope he would approve of the new addition!

Henry Bell built the house Rachel and her family live in. We hope he would approve of the new addition!

Rachel’s house was built in 1887, and for a minute or two, it felt odd to put solar panels on an old Victorian. But we think that even builder Henry Bell would agree that a south-facing exposure and a sloped roof are calling out for solar panels. Using all that space to generate energy just feels right. And it makes economic sense, too. That’s a win-win in our book. It’s just like using pasture to feed animals. Keep it simple…..!

Both our houses sell solar back to our electric companies so when we’re not using everything the sun gives us, other people can. While Rachel won’t have details on the cost benefits, Kathy can say that in the summertime, when non-solar folks are complaining about the $300+ air conditioning bills to beat the 100+ degree heat, her electric bill was about $100.  And this spring, with no AC or heat running, her monthly bills were about $15. That’s some sunny savings!

Solar City installed the panels at Rachel's house. If you are interested in solar power for your house, and you choose Solar City, mention Rachel's name and On Pasture will get $250!

Solar City installed the panels at Rachel’s house. If you are interested in solar power for your house, and you choose Solar City, mention Rachel’s name and On Pasture will get $250!

Once we have more information about how it’s going at Rachel’s place, we’ll let you know what it looks like. We’ll also tell you more about Solar City, and their offer to give $250 to On Pasture for every reader that mentions Rachel Gilker when they set up for solar power with Solar City.

Till then, sunny skies by day, and please send some rain for night time.


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  • Published: 6 years ago on May 18, 2015
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  • Last Modified: May 18, 2015 @ 10:24 pm
  • Filed Under: The Scoop

About the author

Author and editor emeritus

Rachel's interest in sustainable agriculture and grazing has deep roots in the soil. She's been following that passion around the world, working on an ancient Nabatean farm in the Negev, and with farmers in West Africa's Niger. After returning to the US, Rachel received her M.S. and Ph.D. in agronomy and soil science from the University of Maryland. For her doctoral research, Rachel spent 3 years working with Maryland dairy farmers using management intensive grazing. She then began her work with grass farmers, a source of joy and a journey of discovery.


  1. When our solar was installed last summer, we opted to have a pole barn built upon which the solar array would be sited.
    That enabled us to get the optimum angles etc, and because the contractor did it all as a unit, we will be able to take the 30% tax credit on the barn construction as well as the solar . Didn’t save so much in the winter but now are bills have shrunk considerably and we are selling back to the grid.

    • Rachel Gilker says:

      Linda, that sounds like a great plan. What kind of roofing do you have on your barn? We heard that they can’t install onto certain metals. Congratulations on the lower bills and the tax credit!

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